Published in Lifestyles 55 August, 2020
The Manitoba Legislative Assembly is one of the most beautiful buildings in North America. Built a century ago, it has stood the test of time and will continue to do so. I often think about our history as I walk through this impressive building. I think of the men and women who have come before and blazed the trail for me. I wonder what this place would have been like in that time.
100 years from now, there will be people wondering the same thing about all of us. Our beautiful legislature will stand tall and of course, there will be similarities to the present, but life will undoubtedly be very different. Then, the people walking through our beautiful legislature will wonder what life would have been like for all of us now.
To celebrate the 100th anniversary of our legislature and honour the 150th birthday of Manitoba I recently hosted an event at the Louis Riel statue on the grounds of the legislature. The event was outdoors and proper physical distancing measures were in place. It was a symbolic rededication ceremony of our building and the unveiling of a time capsule. Holding this important event at the Louis Riel statue is a great reminder of where our province began. We are proud to be the fifth province to enter confederation and the only indigenous led province to do so. This historic fact is something all of us must take pride in. Together, the lieutenant governor, premier, elder Margaret Roscelli, great grand niece of Louis Riel, Paulette Duguay, and I all spoke to the importance of this sesquicentennial milestone.
In honour of the occasion, I unveiled a time capsule that will be opened in 100 years. The capsule was designed by local artist Darren Sakwi and truly is a piece of art. Rather than bury the time capsule as many do, this will be displayed in the Keystone gallery of the legislature. Often, when a capsule is buried it is forgotten about! I want Manitobans to be able to see this exquisite piece of art that will represent a snapshot of our time to Manitobans one century from now. I curated the items of this capsule and felt it was a great responsibility to do so. I chose items that represent our rich culture and how we live. There are 75 items in the time capsule including:
· A Metis sash
· A soapstone carving
· A beaded tobacco pouch
· Letters from the leaders of each political party as well as the lieutenant governor
· Newspaper articles from the day of the unveiling
· Information on COVID-19 in Manitoba
· A mystery item which will not be disclosed until the capsule is opened
· Blueprints of the legislative building
· A cell phone
These are just some of the many items included. How different will Manitoba and the legislature be? I thought it would be important to include a cell phone as that is how so many of us work right now- will those who open the capsule even know what it is? It’s interesting that right now we’re dealing with a world-wide pandemic as we rededicate our building. I can’t help but notice the similarities between present day and when the building was opened in 1920 around the time of the Spanish influenza. Then, like now, our beautiful legislature stood tall and proud as a symbol of our democracy.
I have so much hope for our future here in Manitoba. I hope and trust that Manitoba will continue to grow into a vibrant, dynamic and inclusive society. I hope for gender parity in our legislature and further progression on women’s rights. I hope for prosperity and a bright future for the Manitobans yet to be born. I hope for our unique and beautiful culture to continue to be celebrated. No one knows what our province will be like in 100 years, however I trust that it will have the same strong Manitoba spirit that we have now. We are, after all, where Canada’s heart beats.