Friday, November 6, 2020

Resilience And Activism

Rick Hansen is one of our most extraordinary stories. A track and field athlete who became a paraplegic after a spinal cord industry, he became an activist and philanthropist, capturing the imagination of the country and the world in his Man In Motion wheelchair journey around the world from 1985-87. 

The place of Canada in the world is the last thematic area, explored in a multitude of ways. One of the measures successive Canadian governments took was a stand of principle against the South African apartheid system, going back to the Diefenbaker government.

The poster here was for a solidarity workshop in Bolton, Ontario. Prime Minister Brian Mulroney maintained the stand against apartheid through his time in office, even if it meant taking a different approach than allies like Margaret Thatcher or Ronald Reagan.

Nelson Mandela never forgot the support from Canadians in general and Canadian governments in particular. He was designated an honourary Canadian right here at the Museum in 2001.

Lester Pearson, our foreign minister at the time and later one of our best Prime Ministers, was integral in the creation of the concept of peacekeeping during the Suez Crisis. He would win the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts.

One of the displays here details the contributions of Mark Isfeld, a Canadian soldier, peacekeeper, and combat engineer killed by a landmine in Croatia. Items here include a knitted doll, something made by his mother and handed out to children in places he was working in.

The Ottawa Treaty, a measure meant to eliminate landmines, has been ratified by many countries, but not all- the United States, Russia, and China are among the holdouts. 


  1. Even now we need resilience...
    Let's stay strong!

  2. Hopefully, with the correct elections results the USA will be back to normal soon.
    Take care, enjoy your day! Wishing you a happy weekend!

  3. Would be great if the US would be as normal as Canada soon.

  4. I am happy to see the portrait of Lester B. Pearson, one of the greatest of all Canadians in my opinion.,

  5. A group of notable men William. We lived in Central Africa when Apartheid was in place. It is the reason I refused to step one foot into South Africa.

  6. wonderful to have people of great character, we could use some at the moment.

  7. Was Rick Hansen really that long ago? Oh my!

  8. It is good to be reminded that there are good people out there!

  9. Canadians can be very proud of themselves. Too bad we didn't have more prime ministers like Pearson.

  10. @Italiafinlandia: I agree.

    @Eileen: hopefully.

    @Francisco: thanks.

    @Iris: it is.

    @Jan: we'll find out.

    @David: I agree.

  11. @Grace: a good reason not to.

    @Jennifer: quite so.

    @Tom: definitely.

    @Anvilcloud: yes, it's been that long.

    @RedPat: it is indeed.

    @Red: quite true.

  12. I remember my dad with tears in his eyes when Mandela was released from prison. I had never seen my dad that emotional over any foreign person. It really moved me.

  13. Lots of good people in Canada. Nice exhibition, William and thanks for sharing.

  14. I didn't know Mandela was an honorary Canadian. Very interesting post about my northern neighbor.

  15. A great look at our history! My high school in Calgary was named after Lester B. Pearson.

  16. WOW, always learning something here.
    The first story is really amazing.

  17. Thanks for showing all this to northern eyes.

  18. @Sharon: Mandela was a great and good man.

    @Maywyn: I think so.

    @Bill: you're welcome.

    @DJan: thank you.

    @Jenn: a man well worth naming it for.

    @Gemel: it was.

    @Joanne: you're welcome.

  19. That knitted doll must have been so endearing.

  20. Land mines are a gigantic problem!

  21. Powerful post and photos ^_^ ~ The Yin and Yang of life.

    Live each moment with love,

    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  22. I have heard of Rick Hansen. Remarkable.