With Canada celebrating 150 years since confederation this year, all eyes are on our country – and we can feel the story of Canada changing. We feel conflicted about the painfully slow pace of change and yet we are witnessing the resilience of Indigenous cultures and languages. We struggle to define Canadian identity while we welcome new immigrants into the fold; we absentmindedly destroy nature while so many of us are working fiercly to protect it; we try to separate our political views from our southern neighbours and yet we seek to build a global community. Us, them, me, you. Who are we, anyway? What values do we hold close to our hearts? What do we want for our future? What will we accept for now? How can we know where to begin to help or heal without becoming completely overwhelmed by the task?
Four years after our first creative encounters with the Group of Seven at MacHouse, we find ourselves wondering about Canada again. We know more now. And we cannot unknown what we know. This time around, how will our new knowledge and perspectives change what we see when we look closely at Canada? When we look more deeply inside ourselves?
These questions have played a huge role in our lives this summer. We have been ‘on the road’ with the City of Vaughan’s Dream Weaver Project, collecting dreams for Canada’s future from community members of all ages and cultural backgrounds. We’ve also responded to requests to take our Reflections of Canada program on tour – popping up in libraries and community spaces across Ontario. All of the new workshops we had planned for this summer got pushed back to fall – so we could revisit the question of Canada again and again. All roads seem to be pointing us towards a deeper exploration of what Canada means to us and what it means to be Canadian. We don’t have any definitive answers for you but we do have lots of questions. And we suspect you do, too.