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.
I love knowing truly creative people. Jennifer Gough, aka Minds Eye Studio is definitely one (see our Box 10 interview), pair her with two of my other favorites THEMUSEUM and TEDxWaterloo and I don’t know what to do with myself. Luckily, they do.
This Saturday Jennifer’s massive TEDxWaterloo Speaker Smarts Crossword Puzzle will be revealed at THEMUSEUM. From 1-5pm we are all invited to check out the clues and paint in our answers. If painting isn’t your thing, tease the crowd by tweeting incorrect hints – they will show up on the tweet wall if you use #TEDxWaterloo.
Aside from just being really fun, (who doesn’t like giant puzzles?), the crossword will introduce newbies to the TEDx world. More than just a speaker’s series, audience members must apply for a spot (applications are due February 1st) and be prepared to be a part of the conversations that happen in between each presentation. It’s a truly unique, interactive experience. The actual TEDxWaterloo event takes place on March 3rd at the Centre in the Square from 1-8p m with an afterparty to follow.
Of course, this is all taking place in the midst of THEMUSEUM’s 36 hours of Titanic, a crazy undertaking which brings the exhibit to you for – you guessed it – 36 hours straight- 10 am on Friday to 10 pm on Saturday. Night owls are rewarded with $10 Titanic admission from 10 pm to 10 am.
It is going to be a busy weekend. Thursday night is the talk with artist in residence Michelle Allard at KW|AG followed by Friday night’s Opening Reception, also at KW|AG (both are free and open to all). Saturday you’ll find me puzzling out the clues for Jennifer’s TEDxWaterloo crossword puzzle at THEMUSEUM and Sunday I am going to take in the Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery‘s newest exhibition – most likely with some sushi thrown in.
So, to sum up my feelings about this weekend:
#6 across: What’s a seven letter word for really excited – starts with a “p” ?
Hint: Rhymes with biked
p.s – If you haven’t checked out Jennifer Gough’s new blog find it here>