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Snow: First exhibition of its kind in Canada opens at the Canadian Museum of Civilization
Winter Vehicle. The Regier family’s winter vehicle, Around 1950. Built entirely by hand, this vehicle even had a small wood-burning stove for warmth on long trips. Photo: Steven Darby ©Canadian Museum of Civilization.

GATINEAU.- Big snowflakes, blustery winds and snowdrifts. Love it or hate it, snow is an essential part of the Canadian landscape. This winter, it’s the subject of the Canadian Museum of Civilization’s Snow: an exhibition that won’t leave you cold!

Opened on December 6, Snow, the first exhibition of its kind in Canada, portrays the amazing love-hate relationship that the inhabitants of this great land have had with snow since the arrival of the First Peoples in North America. Created in partnership with the J. Armand Bombardier Museum, Snow gives visitors a historical and cultural perspective on this element of nature as a source of adaptation, passion, ingenuity and creativity.

Drawing from the Museum’s collections, the exhibition team has amassed more than 300 artifacts, photos and documents from various eras. These objects give visitors an appreciation of the many facets of a weather phenomenon that affects a large portion of our lives.

The artifacts and documents chosen represent how we deal with the challenge of snowy winters today, as well as how we have coped with snow and adapted our lifestyles around it in the past. Visitors will see sleds with foot warmers, snowshoes for horses, skis from different periods, uniforms worn by Canada’s winter Olympians (like Jean-Luc Brassard) and a 1950 wooden winter vehicle built entirely by hand. Snow-related art, from ancient Inuit sculptures to works by Canadian painters and writers, will also be exhibited.

“The Canadian Museum of Civilization is proud to have created this exhibition displaying not only numerous documents and artifacts from its own collections, but also photographs from Canadians from all over the country,” says Mark O’Neill, President and CEO of the Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation. “This helps us gain a better understanding of our connection with snow, which is an integral part of our culture, history and identity.”

Part of the appeal of this unique exhibition is the contribution made by Canadians across the country who supplied the Museum with photographs illustrating their relationship with snow. These pictures are prominently displayed in the hall leading to the exhibition and will become part of the Museum’s collections. The images — cheeks rosy from the cold, snowball fights, brushing snow from a car, snow-covered landscapes — will remind visitors of their own winter experiences.

“We asked Canadians to send in photos illustrating their connection with snow. The response was overwhelming,” says exhibition curator Bianca Gendreau. “We received more than 400 new and old photos along with descriptions. The value of this photo collection is impossible to describe.”

Snow will engulf visitors young and old in an enchanting interactive experience. It is on display from December 6, 2013 to September 28, 2014 at the Canadian Museum of Civilization.

The Museum will produce a travelling version of the exhibition at the J. Armand Bombardier Museum in Valcourt, Quebec in 2015.

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