The second referendum on Quebec separation in 1995 is the closest the country ever came to breaking up.
Bilingualism is a way of life here, especially in the Ottawa area. Across the country, one province is officially bilingual- New Brunswick. But French-speaking populations can be found everywhere.
I love that t-shirt.
The next thematic area is about human rights and Canada's place in the world. Multiculturalism is a big thing here, especially starting in the second half of the 20th century when immigration from around the world became the norm.
Mirror Mirror is the title of this installation by artist Laila Binbrek, reflecting her dual nature- growing up in western society with Yemeni roots. Items on the two makeup tables facing each other reflect the two contrasts.
Race and religion have had their own influences in Canada- from the uproar over the idea of a Mountie wearing a turban (which seems to us today to be a meaningless issue) to civil rights pioneers like Viola Desmond, at lower right. The Nova Scotia businesswoman refused to sit in a segregated portion of a theatre, and was arrested for it. Today she graces the ten dollar bill.
Hockey sticks for paralympic athletes and a model of an accessible playground equipment are seen here, along with an odd item- a single worn glove. This was a glove worn by Rick Hansen on his Man In Motion journey around the world to raise awareness of spinal cord injuries.
The Canadian focus on human rights includes the struggle against South African apartheid. It was both a common feeling among the population and a standard policy of multiple governments for decades that the institution was wrong.
The Diefenbaker government opposed South Africa's place in the Commonwealth because of apartheid. This continued to be Canadian policy for decades. In the 1980s, Brian Mulroney took things up a notch by urging economic sanctions against South Africa by the Commonwealth- which had him at odds with his allies, Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, who didn't want to go quite that far. Despite his many flaws as a leader, for that stand on a point of principle, I can respect that about Mulroney.
South Africa abandoned apartheid, freeing Nelson Mandela, who never forgot the support of Canadians. He was named an honourary citizen of the country in a ceremony held in the Museum's Grand Hall.
Another form of service: RCMP officer Christine Briand was part of a UN mission in Haiti at the time of the 2010 earthquake and worked to rebuild an orphanage there.