Seeing is believing: A witness to the birth of global cooperation
Imagine you had the chance to travel back in time to witness one of history’s greatest moments. The confederation of Canada or the completion of the National Transcontinental Railway. Wouldn’t that be an amazing experience?
Unfortunately, time travel has not yet been invented, but thankfully, the telephone has. This past month we had the incredible opportunity to speak with Paul Morris, who in June 1945, stumbled upon one of the most important moments of the 20th century.
After studying Japanese in Vancouver with the Canadian Army, Paul decided to take a trip over to Los Angeles for a much-needed break. While he was there, he decided to add a night in San Francisco to his itinerary before heading home. While in San Francisco, the youthful 22-year-old read about a once-in-a-lifetime event happening at a nearby opera house.
The local paper advised that the public was welcome to witness the signing of the United Nations (UN) Charter. Paul was overjoyed at the opportunity to be part of this monumental moment that followed another very significant event, the End of the Second World War. As a Veteran of the Second World War, he knew how important this gathering of nations would be for the future of world peace.
"I watched our Prime Minister, Mackenzie King, go to the microphone and speak about Canada and its decision to be part of this new organization that was concerned with peace,” tells Paul. “And then he headed over to a big book where, on behalf of all Canadians, he signed the Charter of the United Nations.”
To this day Paul still believes in the core values and mission that the United Nations was built on, those 75 years ago. As the last living Canadian to witness the signing of the UN Charter, he loves to share the experience with young people from across the nation and maintains that Canada has an integral role to play in being a leader on the global stage.
“So many things like climate change are not just a national issue, they are a global issue. And the United Nations are doing a lot to make the world a better place.”
To celebrate the anniversary of 75 years of the United Nations peacebuilding initiatives and Canada’s integral role in those efforts, we’ve created Canada’s first-ever coloured $1 circulation coin. Look for one in your change, or guarantee owning both the coloured and uncoloured coins with our Keepsake Card, which features the two.