Canadian Museum for Human Rights to open in September 2014

Gail Asper and Stuart Murraypose for media at the CMHR announcement
Gail Asper and Stuart Murray pose for media at the announcement of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights' opening date.

WINNIPEG — A decade after the project was first announced, there is finally an opening date for the Canadian Museum for Human Rights: Sept. 20, 2014.

The announcement of the $351-million project’s opening date brings definitive deadlines.

“It allows people to start to plan, it allows people to have a chance to look at what has to be done between now and then,” said CMHR president and CEO Stuart Murray. “The opening is just the beginning of this museum.”

The exhibits that will fill the massive, unique building at The Forks will be revealed in the weeks ahead.

The museum’s operating cost is $21.7 million a year, paid for by the federal government.

One goal of the museum is to provide jobs and economic opportunities.

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“It’s all about human rights but it’s also about the economics — otherwise, we could’ve done this in Ottawa,” said Gail Asper, the national campaign chairwoman for Friends of the CMHR. The museum will give people a new sense of what Manitoba has to offer, she said.

The museum has been plagued with bumps and hurdles. Some disagree with programming decisions, with the Ukrainian Canadian Congress and the Aboriginal Council of Winnipeg upset over the way their struggles will be exhibited.

The museum isn’t saying what it will charge for admission but estimates 250,000 people will visit annually.

In comparison, nearly 400,000 people went to the Assiniboine Park Zoo this year, while the centrepiece Journey to Churchill exhibit is still under construction. The Manitoba Museum attracted 340,000 people last year.