HOME▶コラム▶Canada 150: Celebrating Canada’s Anniversary in the Cradle of Confederation(寄稿:Kristie Collins、関東地区ニューズレターNo.15〔2017年9月〕より転載)

Canada 150: Celebrating Canada’s Anniversary in the Cradle of Confederation(寄稿:Kristie Collins、関東地区ニューズレターNo.15〔2017年9月〕より転載)

Canada 150: Celebrating Canada’s Anniversary in the Cradle of Confederation

Kristie Collins

Joyeux anniversaire, Canada! While it is always a pleasure to return home for a summer vacation in the Atlantic provinces, summer 2017 was a standout as a result of all the festivities held to mark the ‘sesquicentennial’ year—or 150th anniversary—of Canada’s nationhood. In my home province of Prince Edward Island, where the Charlottetown Conference of 1864 set in motion the signing of the British North America Act in 1867, we feel a particular pride in marking this milestone. Paradoxically, while we did play host to the Fathers of Confederation at the 1864 conference, P.E.I. actually held out on joining the union until 1873, so Islanders joke that additional festivities will have to be held in 2023 to mark our 150th year in the Confederation, as well!

Having been granted nearly $2 million in Canadian Heritage Fund and Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) funding for community projects related to the Canada 150 celebrations, Prince Edward Island planners decided on themes related to diversity and inclusion, reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, and environment and youth, as the guiding principles for twenty-two selected Canada 150 projects. These projects seek to involve Islanders and visitors in a variety of ways, and provide rich and meaningful opportunities for us to reflect on our nation’s development over the past 150+ years—and the path that lies ahead for us as Canadians and/or as friends of Canada. From canoe and kayak paddling festivals and a barn quilt trail that shines light on Prince Edward Island’s attention to environmental protection practices, to workshops and carnivals that provide stages for our talented Acadian and Mi’kmaq artists and performers, to an interactive sound and light show that is projecting young peoples’ visions of Canada on the side of the Confederation Centre of the Arts building in downtown Charlottetown, these Canada 150 undertakings offer myriad ways to celebrate this special year.

One of the most warmly received projects has been the Confederation Centre’s “The Dream Catchers” initiative. The program wonderfully incorporates all of the themes chosen for the Canada 150 projects: first, the Centre’s exhibition of a giant national dream catcher (comprised of individual dream catchers made by young Canadians) represents our interconnectedness as a people, and gives hope for our nation’s future, and, second, its theatrical program (made up of young performers drawn from every province and territory) showcases the diversity and richly-layered textures of our multicultural citizenry. In times like these, when far too many countries are seeking to exclude or deny entry to those of different cultural backgrounds, it is especially uplifting to see initiatives that celebrate the strength and value of an inclusive and diverse population. Although Canada is still a young nation at 150, we have so many things of which we can be proud. And as we look forward to the next 150 years, I hope the themes of this summer’s festivities will continue to guide our way.

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(Reitaku University)