Photo by Chung Chow
This year, instead of just teaching us about our country’s past, Historica gives us a chance to lay down new history.
“We decided to turn the tables, to invite Canadians to share their stories instead,” says director of the Historica’s Here’s My Canada program, Bronwyn Graves.
Historica is a national charity that works to bring Canadian history alive. Here’s My Canada invites 30-second videos that allow people to express their view of our country. The Historica project accepts online submissions or, if there is enough demand, Here’s My Canada will send a video crew to a school to tape many entries.
MacNeill Secondary teacher Catriona Misfeldt saw the ad for the program and signed up two of her Grade 9 classes.
“It seemed like a great learning opportunity.”
She then worked with her students to express their own ideas clearly, with passion and sometimes with humour.
“Many of my students are English language learners so this was a great chance for us to hear their voices, to see their view of Canada.”
The MacNeill taping session took place in March. For her video message, student Daphne Tan chose totem poles as her symbol of Canada: ”When I first came to Canada, that was the piece of art that resonated with me. I chose them because it reminded me of the blissful time in my life.”
Another student, Bara’ah Honaish, chose the progressing Canadian culture as her theme, speaking of reconciliation: “I love how the Canadian culture is now all cultures combined. It got here by looking at its mistakes and using them to go forward.”
Daniel Davydova and Leo Yang did a two-man routine, going back and forth showing their fashion short-comings, “Look at me. Messy hair,” says one. “Mine too,” says the other as they go down the list of possible bigotries from race to orientation, ethnicity to abilities.
“In Canada, it doesn’t matter. It’s what’s inside that counts. And that’s my Canada!”
According to Graves, there are four age categories starting at age six and going to the over-19 category. While there is no age limit, “30 seconds is a hard limit, the app will cut you off,” Graves cautions. “Anyone with strong ties to this country, really we’d like to hear their stories. We wouldn’t turn anyone away.” Misfeldt values the Here’s My Canada program for her students: “This gave the students a time to really stop and think about what’s important and what they valued about the country and what they valued about being Canadian.”
After taping his articulate and heartfelt video, student, Jasper Chu reflected: “This was one of the few times I was really able to get out there and express myself in the way I wished to.” To see some of the submissions and to learn how to enter your own video go to: heresmycanada.ca for more information.