News Release Article from  Parks Canada

Archived - Government of Canada Opens Exhibit on First World War Internment in Canada in Banff National Park

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Banff, Alberta, September 13, 2013 -- The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for Multiculturalism, on behalf of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Canada’s Environment Minister and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, today marked the opening of an important new exhibit in Banff National Park that tells the history of First World War internment operations in Canada and their legacy.

“Our Government is committed to acknowledging and educating Canadians about the experiences of those who were interned during the war under the War Measures Act,” said Minister Kenney. “We must ensure that we remember these difficult periods in our nation’s history and never forget the communities that were affected by made-in-Canada internment, and how their experiences reflected the character of our country and in turn shaped it.”

The 305 m2 (1,000 ft2) exhibit, located adjacent to the newly re-opened Cave and Basin National Historic Site in Banff National Park, includes interactive touch-screens and mixed media displays that encourage visitors to learn about a little known chapter in Canada’s history.

“The national internment story must never be forgotten,” said Minister Aglukkaq. “The exhibit in Banff National Park will offer millions of visitors the opportunity to learn about and reflect on this challenging historic event.”

During the First World War, under the War Measures Act, internment camps were established at 24 locations throughout the country, with a number of them located in the Rocky Mountain national parks or on sites currently administered by Parks Canada. Over the course of the war and shortly afterwards, from 1914 to 1920, more than 8,000 men, mostly Ukrainians and other Europeans, were interned because they were considered enemy aliens and a threat to Canadian security. Internees included civilians, members of enemy militaries and merchant marines.

Through the National Historical Recognition Program (NHRP), the Government of Canada provided Parks Canada with $3.3 million to create awareness materials and exhibits about the First World War internment operations at three locations – now national historic sites – that were once used as internment camps: the Cave and Basin (Banff, Alberta), Fort Henry (Kingston, Ontario) and the Halifax Citadel (Halifax, Nova Scotia). Furthermore, the contribution of partners such as the Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund Endowment Council is also important to raising awareness and providing information on this era in our Nation’s history.

For more information on the exhibit on First World War Internment in Canada located in Banff National Park, please visit www.parkscanada.gc.ca/banff and click under what’s new.

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