In 2008, WinnipegREALTORS® embarked on a campaign that brought REALTORS® together from coast to coast. They joined in the common purpose of supporting the Friends for the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) in their efforts to raise private capital to pay for the first national museum built outside of Ottawa.
Like any fundraising endeavor, you do not expect smooth sailing. However, if you believe in the cause, and you understand how important it is to reach it, you roll up your sleeves and persevere. This is exactly what REALTORS® did, and the goal of raising $2 million for the CMHR was reached six years later.
No one better exemplifies that effort than national campaign chair Sheldon Zamick, a very community-minded local REALTOR®, who took advantage of every opportunity he had to spread the fund-raising message. He told REALTORS® that it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and impressed upon them how the museum will become a hub for human rights activity. There was no letting up. While much more a marathon than a sprint, the satisfaction of reaching the finish line is something many of those involved will never forget.
A face of the campaign from the outset, and one who became much more involved as it progressed, was REALTOR® Harry DeLeeuw, a past-president of all three levels of organized real estate. He explained that the human rights museum aligns so well with REALTORS® own cause to improve the quality of life for all people.
“The right to own property and live safely in our communities is at the heart of so many human rights conversations among us,” said DeLeeuw.
Manitoba Real Estate Association CEO Brian Collie used his network and influence for the final push to the end of the campaign.
While the rest of Canada should be proud of what has been erected at The Forks, visitors from far and wide will marvel and be inspired in all that CMHR will display and showcase on human rights.
What does it mean for Winnipeg? Lots to be honest! Here are just some of the things mentioned.
• Economic Development Winnipeg has projected the museum’s annual gross economic impact at $159 million, with expected visitor expenditures of $25.7 million and an estimated $79 million in additional direct spending in the city.
• Direct jobs created during construction are estimated to be 2,040 person years with indirect employment being another 1,500 person years. Direct capital expenditures are roughly $265 million with annual operating expenditures of $21.7 million.
• The senior vice-president for marketing for the Canadian Tourism Commission, Greg Klassen, has described the museum as a “game-changer.” Gail Lord and Associates estimates 250,000 people are expected to visit the museum each year.
• Local architect Brent Bellamy has estimated that 110 floors of new building spaces have gone up, or will go up, because of the CMHR.
• It is estimated that each year of operations will generate the equivalent of 450 full-time jobs and over two-thirds of these new jobs will be external to the museum.
• The CMHR is the first national museum built outside the National Capital Region in Ottawa.
• Between the museum, an expanded RBC Winnipeg Convention Centre, Assiniboine Park Conservancy, and Winnipeg’s universities and colleges, the city is an attractive destination for conferences and events. The CMHR is already receiving a lot of interest as a venue for national and international conference events.
• Travel Manitoba is working with the Canadian Tourism Commission to promote the CMHR to international markets as a future member of its Signature Experiences Collection.
• The average convention delegate spends up to four times as much as the average leisure visitor, often engaging in pre- and post-convention travel, as well as return visits with family and friends.
CMHR president and CEO Stuart Murray said the generous contribution by REALTORS® helps ensure Canada’s new national museum will become a “gamechanger” for tourism in Winnipeg and Canada. He said the economic impact is already evident as the hotel, hospitality and convention industries gear up for the museum’s opening this September.
“The support of REALTORS® has not only helped us change the skyline of Winnipeg, but will also help change the human rights landscape of Canada,” added Murray.
CMHR describes the visitor experience as a journey and they speak of it being one of learning, empowerment and action.