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Opening in Ottawa of a Jewish Exhibit Celebrating Canada’s 150th Anniversary

A new exhibit will open in Ottawa on April 2, 2017 to mark the contribution of Jews to Canada and to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation.

The Canadian Jewish Experience: A Tribute to Canada 150 will be installed at 30 Metcalfe Street just two blocks from Parliament Hill. The exhibition will be open to the public daily 9-6PM, starting April 4th 2017.

The Canadian Jewish Experience is composed of specially created, bilingual exhibit panels illustrating nine major themes, such as: contributions in war and diplomacy, public service, human rights, business growth, arts, culture and sport. A travelling version of the CJE exhibit will be available for display in other cities in Canada.

A parallel web site has also been created to present more detailed information about the CJE exhibit topics and about many extraordinary Canadians. The web site will also provide information about venues for the lecture series and locations where the travelling exhibit can be viewed. 


The Canadian Jewish Experience will also present a speaker series to highlight the contributions of Jewish Canadians to the development of Canada.

CJE has produced a special exhibit panel “Remembering Louis Rasminsky” which describes the work of Rasminsky, who was the first ever Jewish person to be Governor of the Bank of Canada. This will be on display at the Bank of Canada headquarters in Ottawa.


CJE Committee head Tova Lynch thanked donors from across Canada for the financial assistance they provided. In particular, CJE acknowledges the generosity of its major donors: The Asper Foundation and Bel-Fran Charitable Foundation (Samuel and Frances Belzberg) from Vancouver.  Tova Lynch added, “The CJE is an example of the tremendous love which Canadians have for our country.”  She praised the National Capital Commission for its cooperation.  “Through our partnership with the National Capital Commission CJE has an excellent downtown facility at the centre of events celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday.” 


Lynch noted, “Excitement is building as we approach Canada Day 2017.  CJE will tell Canada’s Jewish story to many thousands of visitors to Ottawa in 2017.”  Lynch pointed out that “Jewish Canadians have played a key role in all facets of life in Canada. Their accomplishments reflect the challenges and successes experienced by Canada in its first 150 years.”


The Jewish connection to Canada dates back to the mid-1700s.  “The first Jewish Canadians arrived more than one hundred years before Confederation,” notes Senator Linda Frum.  “We’ve been here for a quarter of a millennium, but many Canadians don’t know the role we’ve played to make our country strong and vibrant.  The Canadian Jewish Experience will help to change that.”


Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson said that the national capital is the appropriate home for the Canadian Jewish Experience. “In 2017, Ottawa will be at the centre of celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday and Jewish people have played a key role in all facets of life in the city. In fact, their accomplishments here reflect all the themes of the Canadian Jewish Experience, including being elected Mayor.”


Other Jewish leaders and organizations who have assisted the Canadian Jewish Experience project include: Victor Rabinovitch, former President and CEO of the Canadian Museum of Civilization (now the Canadian Museum of History); the leaders of Jewish Federations across Canada and the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs. CJE is also supported by: Members of Parliament from all federal parties; Senator Linda Frum, former Senator Gerry Grafstein; and, Rabbi Dr. Reuven Bulka, O.C.. Sandra Morton Weizman of Calgary is the curator of the CJE exhibit and virtual exhibit. 


The following dignitaries have confirmed their participation at the CJE opening: Rabbi Reuven Bulka (Master of Ceremonies); Mayor Jim Watson; Dr. Mark Kristmanson, CEO of the National Capital Commission; Supreme Court Judge Hon. Michael J Moldaver Linda Kerzner, Chair of the Ottawa Jewish Federation, representative of other faiths have been invited. 


The CJE needs local volunteers to staff the Ottawa exhibit and provide information to visitors.  If you would like to volunteer at the exhibit, or contribute to funding the project, please contact us at [email protected], 613 680-8820.  

For additional information on the CJE please contact [email protected] or by phone 613-680-8820.


For your information, the time of the CJE opening is April 2nd, 1-3 PM.

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.