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Nelson Mandela visits Canada

The Story


Just four months after being released from prison, Nelson Mandela is in Canada on a lightning tour which includes Ottawa and Toronto. As we see in this clip, Mandela is given a hero's welcome. But Mandela is not here to praise Canada for a job well done. In Ottawa, he implores the government to maintain economic sanctions. At a Toronto rally, he asks Canadians to "double and redouble" their efforts to end all vestiges of apartheid.

Medium: Television
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: June 18, 1990
Guest(s): Nelson Mandela
Host: Peter Mansbridge
Reporter: Gillian Findlay
Duration: 2:24

Did You know?


• Canada's Meech Lake Accord on constitutional reform had died in June 1990, just before Mandela's visit to Canada. Despite the failure of the accord, Mandela said he was inspired by compromises that Canadians had reached in their own country. "We too must be inspired by this manner of proceedings so that we also reach agreement about our own constitution as speedily as possible, in the interest of all the people of our country," Mandela said.

• Only four foreign dignitaries who were not heads of state or government have ever addressed joint sessions of Canadian Parliament. They were: Nelson Mandela in 1990, United Nations Secretaries-General Javier Perez de Cuellar (1985) and U Thant (1964), and Madame Chiang Kai-Shek, wife of the leader of Republic of China, in 1943.

• Nelson Mandela visited Canada again in 1998, when he spoke with more than 40,000 children at Toronto's SkyDome. He called Canada his "home away from home." He addressed Parliament again, this time as President of the Republic of South Africa.

• In 1998 Nelson Mandela became the first foreign leader to be appointed as an honourary Companion of the Order of Canada.

• During his third visit to Canada in 2001, Mandela received a doctorate of law from Ryerson University, and became the first living recipient of honourary Canadian citizenship. Canada's only other honourary citizen was Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who was given the honour posthumously for saving thousands of Hungarian Jews during the Holocaust.


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Nelson Mandela: Prisoner, President, Peacemaker more