Envisioning the Canadian Museum for Human Rights


The Canadian Museum for Human Rights is envisioned to be an international destination of human rights learning, dialogue and greater understanding. Museum visitors, both online and in-person, will be taken on a journey through our human rights history. They will learn from the past and acquire the skills to change the world today. Centrally located in Winnipeg, the crossroads of Canada, the Museum is intended to become a major hub for international human rights activity and the largest, most comprehensive centre of its kind in the world.

The idea of The Canadian Museum for Human Rights was first proposed in 2000 to the Federal Government of Canada as a project of Dr. Israel Asper, founder of CanWest Global Communications Corp. and President and Founder of The Asper Foundation - a Winnipeg-based private charitable foundation that undertakes and develops major initiatives in the areas of culture, education, community development and human rights locally, nationally and internationally.

The genesis of the creation of this Museum came from Mr. Asper’s long passion for human rights.  While serving as the leader of the Liberal Party of Manitoba from 1970 – 1975, he tabled the first Bill of Rights in the Manitoba Legislature. In 1983, he created The Asper Foundation to focus on one of his major philanthropic objectives – human rights education.

From the outset, Israel Asper saw the Canadian Museum for Human Rights as:

  • A national museum, located in the centre of Canada, in Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • A partnership between the public and private sectors
  • An architectural icon, a tangible symbol of Canada’s devotion to human rights
  • An ”idea” museum – with an unparalleled, transformational visitor journey
  • A place to educate and inspire a new generation of human rights heroes, with a funded national student travel program at its core

After Israel Asper’s untimely death on October 7, 2003, only five months after announcing the Museum project, his daughter, Gail Asper, O.C., O.M., L.L.D. and Moe Levy, Executive Director of The Asper Foundation, stepped into the breach to lead Friends of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights to carry the vision forward.

In his last interview before he passed on, Dr. Asper said, "We Canadians have a tendency to aim for the middle… With this Museum we are reaching for the stars." Friends has continued this commitment and passion to reach for the stars to ensure that the Canadian Museum for Human Rights will truly reflect its founding visionary’s grand dream.

To read more about the history of this exciting project, please read the 10th Anniversary publication which 6P recently designed on behalf of Friends of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

To learn more about the museum project, please visit humanrightsmuseum.ca, and to donate to this worthwhile cause, please visit friendsofcmhr.com.

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