I’ve been thinking seriously about Canadian identity since I left the country in 2007. During my two years abroad, explaining Canada became a regular occurrence, and I didn’t and don’t find it an easy thing to do. After all, we have three coasts, a seriously diverse population and a political system that often throws me for a loop. I’ve always tried to shy away from bringing stereotypes into the mix, we are certainly more than maple syrup and mounties, but adequately defining Canada is a challenge that I’ve never quite mastered even though I’ve had a lot of experience.
Working on cruise ships I was often one of under four other Canadians. Ironically, it was often the American guests rather than my multi-cultural crew mates who had the least understanding of Canada, going so far as to asking if had a dog sled and how I dealt with the year round snow (seriously). How others see Canada is a mixed bag at best.
It isn’t surprising then that I loved Shelly Ambrose’s, “The Importance of Conversation,” talk at the recent TEDxWaterloo. Ambrose is the co-publisher of The Walrus and spent three years in public affairs at the Canadian Consulate in New York, among other things. In her talk she relates the challenge of changing New Yorkers perceptions about Canada – I felt her pain- and defining for herself who and what Canada is.
It certainly is a big question and one that I may never fully answer. For now, I’m happy to watch Republic of Doyle and listen to Matt Galloway in the morning which at least makes me feel truly Canadian – even if I can’t explain why.
p.s- As I was writing this Globe and Mail columnist John Doyle published, “It’s our Republic and we like it,” which talks about his interview with the BBC about the Republic of Doyle and how the show is defining Canada for international audiences.
Itinerary planning for a recent trip to Chicago brought me to the Around Chicago in 85 Tours blog, a genius creation of the Chicago Architecture Foundation. Employee Jennifer Lucente had accepted the challenge of taking all of the Foundation’s tours in one year, sharing the experience via her blog, Facebook page and live tweeting. Of course, being both an architecture and social media nut, I thought this was the best engagement idea since sliced bread met the toaster. So you can imagine my excitement then at meeting Jennifer on the one tour that I manage to fit into our trip.
Quickly recognizing a kindred spirit, (who else would tweet in -10 degree C weather?), I introduced myself via twitter. Some of the tidbits from our live conversation – that tours in the summer were much easier to cover than those in the winter, that 85 really is a lot of tours and that she, like most of us, walks the fine line between balancing day job and social media maven duties. I tweeted my heart out, most likely confusing KW tweeps with the constant stream of reflections on the development of the skyscraper!
Jennifer completed her mission with an open bar celebration on December 16th (what no plane ticket for me?) at the Chicago Theater. I will miss her tweets and blog updates that have certainly fed my yen for architecture. The project is also a perfect example of how to harness social media tools to create real engagement and awareness. A real person telling their very real stories, genius.
Check out the blog and the website for more, and if you are in Chicago – take a tour!
Filed under design, talks
Jim Balsillie gets an Oscar from Jon Landau at THEMUSEUM
I’m sure that I will be one of many to write about Jon Landau‘s talk at THEMUSEUM last night, and for good reason. The man did work on Avatar and Titanic and is on a “Jim” basis with James Cameron. Pretty impressive stuff. So expecting him to be personable and approachable with us mere mortals seemed to be a stretch.
Covering everything from how to massage and develop technology to work for you, to how to gain buy-in and raise morale, the talk and Jon were inspiring and refreshing. I and my fellow tweeters, spurred on by a tweet wall, had a hard time keeping up with his neatly packaged phrases. He wasn’t slick, or overly enthusiastic, he just shared pieces of his journey through the making of his two biggest films and elements of his career development.
[To see what caught our attention check out the twitter feed.]
- We see possibilities where other don’t, we learn enough to get the possibilities. #JonLandaukw
- If films can suggest the hope of a better tomorrow, then they work. #jonlandaukw
- Make everyone seem a part of it. Invite participation. It works. #jonlandaukw
- Can’t does not exist, it is how. #jonlandaukw
- And of course, Jon giving Jim Balsillie an Oscar.
Kudos to David Marskell, digital media man Derek Weidl and THEMUSEUM for continuing to bring world class experiences to KW. I thought that I would have to travel to Toronto for something like this. A fantastic evening that fueled my motivation and belief in the potential and the wonderful reality of KW.
ps -I’ve now seen Titanic twice and have a membership (a steal at $60 for two adults and only $30 for students). Support THEMUSEUM and the continuation of cherry like experiences by visiting their exhibitions and becoming a Member – you will be much cooler if you do.