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Ottawa, May 1, 2000 - The exhibition Canada: Milestones in Our Constitutional Evolution, officially opens today in the Hall of Honour on Parliament Hill. Canadians with online access across the country, or the world for that matter, can explore the exhibition’s virtual counterpart, Canada’s Constitutional Evolution, at the National Archives Web site,

Most of the documents for both exhibitions are from the National Archives. They are the touchstones to more than 300 years of constitutional history and range from the 1663 Edict to establish the Sovereign Council of Quebec, signed by King Louis XIV, to the entry of Nunavut in Confederation in 1999. These documents, such as the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the First Nations’ Treaties, trace the framework within which Canada is governed and have a direct effect on our lives today.

In addition to the virtual exhibition, visitors to the Web, in particular students and teachers, can enjoy an interactive learning experience. Hélène Séguin, coordinator of the virtual exhibition explains, "We have designed the educational activities for students at the secondary school level, in collaboration with a history teacher affiliated with the Vireznet Corporation of Hull. The activities follow a time line and require thoughtful answers based on a close reading of the exhibition’s documents, portraits and maps."

Ian E. Wilson, National Archivist of Canada, has long realized that records enable Canadians to acquire a better knowledge of their country and their fellow citizens. "The National Archives is more and more turning to new technologies to connect Canadians to the rich diversity in the stories of their past. Fragile documents can now be made accessible in ways unheard of just a generation ago. By providing access to these records, the National Archives contributes to the protection of the rights of all Canadians and enhances their understanding of Canada."

The presentation of both of these exhibitions is the result of the collaborative efforts of the Privy Council Office, the National Archives of Canada, the Canada Information Office, the Senate and the House of Commons.


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