Imagine Canadians lined up across the Trans Canada Trail from Coast to Coast to Coast on July 1st 2017 celebrating our countries 150th birthday by being connected across this vast landscape. Holding hands, holding dreams, honouring our past and moving forward into the future.
2017 Starts Now is an exciting collaboration between Community Foundations of Canada, CBC/Radio Canada, and VIA Rail. These collaborators are launching a series of 12 conferences held across the country that will take place up until Canada Day 2013. The purpose of these conferences is to engage Canadians in the planning process for Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations. These discussions will generate ideas on how to celebrate Canada’s milestone in ways that are exciting, meaningful, and reflective of the country’s history and its future. The event in Calgary was the second of the 2017 Starts Now conferences, and featured a number of enlightening speakers.
Amber Marshall star of CBC’s Heartland and Sylvain Bascaron of Radio-Canada in Edmonton were our enthusiastic hosts on Friday April 12th. 120 Albertans listened to some amazing thought provokers who challenged us to think of Canada and this b’day celebration in a way that would create deeper and more meaningful ideas that really reflect who we are as a people, as a country, with all of our diversity and all of our potential. After the speakers it was very energizing to participate in the table discussions and build ideas that were collected and will be combined with ideas from the other 11 events across the country.
Ellen O’Connor from One Yellow Rabbit Performance Theatre in Calgary suggested to the audience that we expand their project of a performance illustrating Treaty 7 to include a National Arts Centre performance of all the treaties in Canada. This fit with a theme that emerged throughout the day of honouring 1st nations as part of this celebration and making sure that storytelling and that oral culture approach is prominent. Someone said “we have unfinished business, let’s take care of it (start it at least)” because it is important to do that to help us more forward as a country and let’s do it as part of these celebrations
Mayor Nenshi talked about how his families success in Calgary is connected to the Canadian way of public service, education and vibrant neighbourhoods.
There was a real buzz in the room throughout the day. I felt inspired by the speakers and went away energized by the table conversations that built ideas. It is amazing what happens when national partners work together and engage Canadians in a way that allows them to dream big and take a small idea and build it bigger together. I wish I could go to all 12 events and I can’t wait to see what happens and to find more ways to get involved!
There are 12 events across the country and you can participate in many ways so follow along through the 2017 web-site.