Update: Canadian History Hall

April 8, 2016
St. Onuphrius Church

Preparing to move St. Onuphrius Church during construction of the Canadian History Hall.

When Chantal Amyot, project director of the under-construction Canadian History Hall, is excited, you can tell — her enthusiasm is palpable.

In a recent hardhat walk-through, her team spotted something to get excited about: a wall visible from many angles at just the right juncture in the storyline (hint: the turning point of Confederation). “Sometimes,” Ms. Amyot says, “when you look at a design on paper, you can’t imagine the opportunities you’ll see in the actual space.”

Although the past few months have seen mostly technical work, some artifacts are too big to miss. Take the Ukrainian church, for example.

The new Hall is built on the guiding principle of authenticity, and the church is an artifact, not a reproduction. It was too large to leave the space during demolition, but the new floorplan required it in a different location. The Museum called in a company specializing in moving heritage buildings. “They slid it on steel girders primed with soap,” Ms. Amyot reveals, obviously delighted by the solution.

The new Hall will be a destination for students of all ages. “We’re making sure that the Hall reflects school curricula and that we leave space for the next generation to learn about the Canadian story,” Ms. Amyot says.

Donors have been essential players in ensuring the Hall progresses as planned. “It’s going to be fantastic,” Ms. Amyot concludes. “Soon construction will be done and exhibitions will take over. Every day is exciting.”

The Canadian History Hall will open on July 1, 2017. It is the largest and most ambitious exhibition project ever undertaken by the Canadian Museum of History, and is the Museum’s gift to the people of Canada for the 150th anniversary of Confederation. For an inside glimpse, please enjoy the video “Vlog update from Chantal Amyot” at historymuseum.ca/blog.