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Manitoba 150 organizers looking for uniquely local celebrations

The bison isn't the only symbol of Manitoba being celebrated in 2020.
The bison isn't the only symbol of Manitoba being celebrated in 2020. Derek Putz / Global News

Manitoba is gearing up to celebrate a milestone anniversary in 2020, and organizers of the Manitoba 150 campaign are getting set for a unique – and uniquely Manitoban – celebration.

Manitoba 150 co-chairs Stuart Murray and Monique LaCoste told 680 CJOB that the milestone anniversary isn’t as well-known as the 2017 Canada 150… yet.

“The thing I think we’ve found so far is people are just sort of waking up to the fact that we turn 150 next year,” said Murray.

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“Once you start talking about it, people get really excited.”

READ MORE: ‘You can’t miss it’: Thousands celebrate Canada 150 in Winnipeg

Manitoba, he said, has an interesting history, in that it was the fifth province to join confederation, but the only province to be joined through Indigenous leadership – Louis Riel and the Manitoba Métis – as well as the only province to join using official documents in French.

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“May 12 is sort of the date that most people look at as when Manitoba came into confederation,” said Murray.

“We’re going to be looking at doing an announcement on December 12, because it’s 150 days out from May 12. We want to do things a little better, create some excitement.”

Murray and LaCoste said there are a number of exciting events that will be unveiled in the coming months, but a big part of Manitoba 150 is involvement from individual municipalities, communities, and organizations.

“We have a number of events that we’ll be producing ourselves as the host committee, but we’re also encouraging Manitobans wherever they are to start their own celebrations,” said LaCoste.

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“We’re going to celebrate, we’re going to learn, we’re going to build, and we’re going to explore.”

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The committee has over $1.22 million available in grant matching funds to help make community commemorations of the 150th a reality.

They’re also looking for nominations of 150 notable (living) Manitobans who are committed to enriching the community and will be awarding them special Manitoba 150 medals for their work as community champions.

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