TORONTO (May 5, 2015) – Commissioned by Magna Carta Canada (MCC) and published by Dundurn Press, Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada will be launched in advance of a national exhibition visiting four Canadian cities beginning in June. The book and exhibition commemorate 800 years since Magna Carta, the iconic document that has inspired human rights charters for centuries, was issued in 1215.
Written by historian Dr. Carolyn Harris, Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada will be launched at an official event today at Queen’s Park. A copy of the book will be presented to The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, prior to a special reception. Available in both English and French, the book traces the journey of the document from its issuance in 1215, to its rediscovery in the seventeenth century, and finally to how Magna Carta became a cornerstone of democratic ideals today.
Opening on Friday, June 12, 2015 at the Canadian Museum of History in Ottawa/Gatineau, the exhibition, Magna Carta: Law, Liberty and Legacy will be a bilingual, interpretive and interactive exhibit based on three themes: history, legacy, and justice today. Spearheaded by MCC, the exhibition will feature an original copy of both Magna Carta and its companion document, the Charter of the Forest – issued in 1300 – on loan from England’s Durham Cathedral.The exhibition will also make stops in Winnipeg, Toronto and Edmonton.
Magna Carta was a “blueprint” for numerous documents upholding human rights, including the American Declaration of Independence, the French Declaration of the Rights of Man, and the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In Canada, it has influenced key documents, from the Royal Proclamation of 1763 that shaped the then British Colonies and their relations with First Nations, to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Magna Carta also set the groundwork for legal principles that define our democratic society today: nobody is above the law, individuals should be free from detention or imprisonment without just cause, and an accused person has the right to a trial by jury of his peers.
About Magna Carta Canada
Magna Carta Canada (MCC) is a charitable organization committed to educating and engaging Canadians about the issues and legacies that resonate from Magna Carta and its companion document, the Charter of the Forest. As part of global celebrations commemorating the 800th anniversary of the issuance of Magna Carta in 1215, MCC will bring both iconic documents from England to Canada for a national exhibition in 2015. As part of this initiative, MCC is launching a companion book, Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada, as well as an educational outreach program. MCC is generously supported by the Government of Canada, the Government of Alberta, the Government of Ontario, and RBC Foundation.
For more information, please visit: www.magnacartacanada.ca
Dr. Carolyn Harris lives in Toronto, where she teaches history at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies. She received her PhD in European history from Queen’s University in 2012. Her writing has appeared in numerous publications including the Globe and Mail, Ottawa Citizen, Smithsonian magazine, and the BBC News magazine, and she is a frequent guest on television and radio.
About Dundurn Press
Dundurn Press is Canada’s largest independent trade publisher. Founded in 1972 by Kirk Howard, at the time a community college instructor frustrated by the lack of books on Canadian history, Dundurn grew from a small publisher on Canadian military history, current affairs, politics, and biography. The company now publishes more than 100 books a year, with a publishing program including award-winning adult and YA fiction, mysteries, biographies, business, and current affairs titles, as well as a wide range of military history.
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