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Winnipeg Sun | 31Mar2012 | Hugh Manatee

[W.Z. This article is an April Fool's joke.]

Cash-strapped rights museum to be converted to water park

After repeated construction delays, cost overruns and funding roadblocks, the people in charge of building the Canadian Museum for Human Rights have finally thrown in the towel ... the beach towel.

The Winnipeg Sun has learned the federal government has reached a tentative deal to sell the museum to a group of private investors who plan to convert the still-unfinished edifice into a world-class water park. The exact terms of the deal are unknown, but it is believed the Winnipeg investors will pay only a fraction of the building’s $357.5-million price tag.

“Enough’s enough. Canadian taxpayers shouldn’t be on the hook for the spiralling cost of this museum,” said a source at the Department of Canadian Heritage shortly after Thursday’s federal budget. “Never mind the $100 million we’ve already spent on construction ... we were also committed to spending $21 million a year in operating costs.”

Although the deal has not yet been finalized, the water park consortium has already hired a team of consultants to adapt architect Antoine Predock’s original plans to accommodate an assortment of slides, wave pools and splash pads. A source close to the investors says the exterior design of the building should be just as impressive as Predock’s original vision.

“It’ll be awesome ... visitors to The Forks will still see this huge glass monument to mankind’s ingenuity,” the source revealed. “The only difference will be the addition of several hundred metres of PVC pipes curling around the exterior.”


Another difference Winnipeggers will no doubt welcome will be an earlier timetable for completion. Whereas the museum’s opening wasn’t slated until 2014 at the earliest, the water park investors have set a firm “splashdown” date of April 1, 2013.

“We’re not fooling around here,” said the source. “Now that the private sector is driving the bus, we’ll reach our destination a lot sooner.”

Although the deal would effectively kill the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, the water park investors plan to incorporate several nods to the concept in their plans. The park’s lazy river, for instance, will feature a multimedia presentation that chronicles Canada’s human rights journey. Also, portraits of renowned human rights leaders will adorn the walls of the changing rooms, alongside various beach-going luminaries such as David Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson of Baywatch fame.

Efforts to give the water park a human rights theme may come as little consolation to the Friends of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, which has so far raised $130 million in mostly private donations for the museum. Earlier this year, the group announced it had increased its fundraising target from $150 million to $200 million.

Although they certainly aren’t counting on the money, the source within the water park consortium said the group is hoping to receive at least a portion of the funds raised by the Friends thus far.

“After all, it’s a basic human right to cool off and have a little fun, isn’t it?”