Bethune's interest in youth art inspires international project

    The Government of Canada Celebrates the Legacy of this Canadian of
    National Historic Significance

TORONTO, Nov. 12 /CNW Telbec/ - On behalf of the Honourable Jim Prentice, Canada's Environment Minister and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, the Honourable Michael Chong, Member of Parliament for Wellington-Halton Hills, today paid tribute to Canadian icon, Dr. Norman Bethune, by hosting an international youth art project, a cause dear to Bethune's heart.

Faces of Humanity, led by Bethune Memorial House National Historic Site of Canada, is a collection of 49 self-portraits created by children in Canada, China, and Spain. Replicas of these portraits, one for every year of Dr. Bethune's life, were shipped to and unveiled simultaneously at events being held in the young artist's countries. The portraits were revealed at exactly noon, local time, on November 12, the 70th anniversary of Bethune's death.

"Raising Canadians' awareness of their history is a subject close to my heart," said Mr. Chong. "It is wonderful that the Faces of Humanity art exhibit joined, in common cause, residents of countries and cities where Bethune spent a considerable portion of his life, enabling them to discover and build a shared understanding of the importance of Dr. Bethune, a truly great Canadian."

Throughout his life, Dr. Bethune used art as a way of bridging cultures and enriching lives of children. Bethune Memorial House launched the art project to bring together the three principal nations with whom Dr. Bethune is most closely associated - Canada, China and Spain.

Excited Gravenhurst children, whose work is part of the exhibit, took the stage at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre today to accept certificates from Chinese and Spanish delegates.

"The Government of Canada, through the Parks Canada Agency, is committed to telling the stories of nationally significant Canadians, such as Dr. Norman Bethune," said Minister Prentice. "By commemorating his important humanitarian accomplishments through youth and art we are building bridges between nations and continuing to share Bethune's legacy with the next generation."

Owing to his medical accomplishments and humanitarian work, in 1972, Dr. Bethune was officially recognised as a person of National Historic Significance by both the Government of Canada and the Province of Ontario. His birthplace in Gravenhurst, Ontario, was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1996 by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada. Today, Bethune Memorial House is a vibrant destination greeting thousands of visitors each year. Bethune also remains a celebrated individual by citizens of the People's Republic of China and Spain.

Parks Canada manages a nation-wide network of national historic sites that commemorate persons, places and events that have shaped Canada's history and which offer visitors the opportunity for real and inspiring discovery. Parks Canada works to ensure that Canada's historic and natural heritage is presented and protected for the enjoyment, education, appreciation and inspired discovery of Canadians and international visitors, today and in the future.

(Also available on the Internet at under Media Room.)

SOURCE Parks Canada

For further information: For further information: Scott Davidson, Site Manager, Bethune Memorial House, Parks Canada, (705) 687-4261, Extension 26

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