The Deep-rooted Friendship’ A Special Exhibition continues to Jan. 11, 2019


The Deep-rooted Friendship’ A Special Exhibition continues to Jan. 11, 2019


Nov. 3, 2018

Global Korean Post


From October 4, 2018 to January 11, 2019, the Korean Cultural Centre, in conjunction with theEmbassy of the Republic of Korea, are proud to present: ‘The Deep-Rooted Friendship: A Special Exhibition to Commemorate the 130thAnniversary of the Canadian Missionary Visit to Korea.’


In collaboration with the Vision Fellowship (Museum of Canadian Missionaries in Korea), a Toronto-based organization, the exhibition will take place at the Korean Cultural Centre – located on 150 Elgin Street, in Ottawa, Ontario. The exhibit will allow visitors to learn more about the first Canadian missionaries and their experiences in Korea. In so doing, visitors will see how those very missionaries forged a lasting legacy, one which continues to shape the bonds between Korea and Canada today.

From the first arrival of Canadian James Scarth Gale (1863-1937) to Korea in 1888, to the complete expulsion in the early 1940s of all foreign missionaries from Korea, some 200 Canadian missionaries, of various denominations, served on the Korean Peninsula.


Canadian missionaries had dedicated their lives, in the hope of enlightening and empowering the Korean people. Many had left impressive egacies, which transcended the bounds of their religious practices. James Scarth Gale for instance wrote the first Korean-English dictionary. And Oliver Avison (1860-1956) established the first Western hospital. Many others partook in various Korean independence movements, touching the hearts of many Koreans along the way.


Commencing in 1888, the exhibit encompasses a broad historical overview of the first Canadian missionaries to Korea, and the successive waves which came afterwards. A slideshow exhibition depicts the lives of the late 19th and early 20th century missionaries – showcasing their observations and activities on the Peninsula.


The focal point of the exhibition comprises a collection of personal items from James Scarth Gale and Duncan McRae (1868-1949), the very first prominent Canadians missionaries who ventured to the Peninsula. The first Western family to wed and bore children on Korean soil – the Hall family, also have their collection of artifacts on display.


Generously loaned by the Royal Ontario Museum, the Canadian Museum of History, the Museum of Canadian Missionaries in Korea, and Korea’s National Gugak Centre, the numerous and varied items in the exhibition range from scrolls of appreciation – bestowed to the missionaries by the Korean people; to eyeglasses, clothes, and books owned by the missionaries. Even a medal of honour, loaned by the Government of Korea, will be on display. Beautifully encapsulated in these rare and most precious historical artifacts are the echoes of stories of a time gone past.

“With their families and their love and respect for the Korean people,” writes Nancy Black, the youngest great-grandchild of Canadian missionary Oliver Avison, “these foreigners supported the transformation of Korea to a modern, independent country, which today shares its knowledge and talents with the world.”


With The Deep-Rooted Friendship’ exhibition, the Korean Cultural Centre and the Korean Embassy aim to place a spotlight on one of the oldest links that bind Korea and Canada together. By introducing this little known chapter to the general public, we hope to highlight not only the 130th Anniversary of the first Canadian Missionaries to Korea, but the 65th Anniversary of the Korean War Armistice, and the 55th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations between Korea and Canada as well.

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