Museum of Civilization, Trudeau’s Talking Portrait

Canadian Museum of Civilization exhibits Face to Face: Pierre Trudeau’s Talking Portrait Canada Day in Quebec, 2008.

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The Canadian Museum of Civilization exhibited Sherry Tompalski’s and Graham Thompson’s multimedia installation Face to Face: Pierre Trudeau’s Talking Portrait in  Gatineau Quebec on July 1, 2008.

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The installation was part of a ongoing virtual exhibition entitled Face to Face  which presents outstanding Canadians – men and women whose ideas and contributions have transformed this country.

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Grouped under five key themes, 27 individuals have been selected from thousands of potential candidates. Some are well known, others are not, but they have all helped shape Canada. This virtual exhibition reflects the information presented in the former Canadian Personalities Hall of the Canadian Museum of History.

Historic Canadian Personalities that Tompalski has Painted

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Lotta Hitschmanova was an early icon of Canadian international humanitarianism. She was born in Prague, in what is now the Czech Republic, and came to Canada as a refugee in 1942. Grieving for the death of her parents in wartime Europe, she channelled her hope for the future into relief work. To help the world’s helpless – especially children – she founded the Canadian branch of an aid agency, the Unitarian Service Committee. For 36 years, she worked relentlessly – speaking, writing, travelling and raising funds for the needy. The work of USC Canada continues today. It is when I think of those youngsters that truly I feel I am the mother of 2,000 children. Lotta Hitschmanova, 1949

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Pierre Trudeau appeared suddenly on the political horizon, blowing in with
the exuberant spirit of the 1960s. Not everyone liked this brilliant, enigmatic man,
but no one was indifferent. Winning his first election as Prime Minister in 1968,
he set out to remake Canada. Though generally failing in the economic arena, he had a strong and coherent social vision.

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He fought for a powerful, centralized state, equality of French and English as official languages, multiculturalism and social tolerance. His legacy is crowned by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, enacted in 1982: the same year that Canada repatriated the Constitution under his leadership. The past is to be respected and acknowledged, but not to be worshipped. It is our future in which we will find our greatness. Pierre Elliott Trudeau, 1970.

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Trudeau Timeline – 1919 Born on October 18 to a wealthy, bicultural family in Montreal. 1940–1948 Studies political science, economy and philosophy at the universities of Montreal and London, at Harvard and at the Sorbonne in Paris, and returns to Montreal to practice law. 1965 Is elected to Parliament as the Member for Mount Royal, Montreal. 1967 Is appointed Minister of Justice and reforms the Criminal Code, decriminalizing  homosexuality and abortion. 1968–1979 Serves as Prime Minister in three successive governments. 1970 Invokes the War Measures Act in response to political violence in Quebec. 1971 Marries Margaret Sinclair, with whom he has three sons. Some years after his divorce in 1984, he has a daughter with lawyer Deborah Coyne. 1979–1980 Serves as Leader of the Opposition. 1980–1984 Returns to power as Prime Minister for a fourth term. Implements major constitutional reforms. 2000 Dies on September 28 in Montreal.

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