Canadian War Museum to be redeployed as centre for tolerance
Last Updated: Wednesday, October 25, 2006 | 6:00 PM ET
The Canadian government is putting $30 million into the former Canadian War Museum in Ottawa to help turn it into a centre to promote cultural, religious and ethnic understanding.
The Global Centre for Pluralism, which will lease the historic building on Sussex Drive, was initiated by the billionaire Aga Khan, spiritual leader of 20 million Ismaili Muslims around the world.
Prime Minster Stephen Harper and Heritage Minister Beverley Oda met with the Aga Khan on Wednesday to formally agree to provide $30 million to building renovations and the endowment to start the centre.
The Aga Khan Development Network, a group of community development organizations with a budget of more than $300 million US, will match the Canadian contribution.
Canada is a fitting home for the centre, Harper said. “This is a country where people from every background have bonded together to create one of the world’s most harmonious nations.”
In thanking the government and Canadians, the Aga Khan said: “I am fascinated by Canada’s experience as a successful pluralist society.”
A news release issued by the network said Ottawa was a natural choice for the centre, as it is the capital of a country that seeks “unity in diversity.”
The Canadian War Museum moved out of the building in 2004 and reopened at LeBreton Flats in 2005.