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July 7, 2014

145 young Canadians gather in Ottawa to celebrate Canada

Encounters with Canada (EWC), our nation’s largest youth forum, celebrated Canada Day on Parliament Hill with 145 participants and 12 teacher-monitors from across the country. The young teens met in Canada’s capital for Experience Canada, an EWC theme week especially tailored to first-generation and new Canadians.

July 1st was a triumph from the get-go! It began with Encounters with Canada having the honour and privilege of welcoming the Honourable Shelly Glover, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, to the Terry Fox Canadian Youth Centre. Minister Glover addressed the participants in both official languages for nearly an hour. She said she was thrilled to celebrate her first Canada Day in her official role as Minister, and she reminded the participants of just how strong, proud, and free this country is—the best in the world!

Minister Glover also briefly spoke about her role as a woman in politics. After generously answering the myriad questions from participants, she then thanked Director General Linda Brunet, along with EWC staff and teacher-monitors, for their efforts in fulfilling Encounters’ mission and leading this fantastic program—one in which she whole-heartedly believes.

Shortly after Minister Glover’s departure, the participants and teacher-monitors headed to Parliament Hill to enjoy the midday show from a reserved seating area. The participants were particularly proud of the presentation of three Historica Minutes during the show: one focused on the key role played by Sir George-Étienne Cartier in the building of Canada; another on “Winnipeg”- the black bear that inspired the classic childhood story, "Winnie-the-Pooh"; and a third one on Sir John A. Macdonald at the Charlottetown Conference, which launched Confederation. Further, the pride and excitement of these young Canadians was written all over their faces, while meeting the performing artists following the show!

The day ended on a high note, with the group heading to Major’s Hill Park for the evening to continue the 147th birthday celebrations. It was an exciting day for these young teens, some of whom were celebrating their very first Canada Day. They will undoubtedly take back a host of memories of their National Capital, this magnificent day and the marvellous time they shared among friends!

Said Stacy Chung, a Toronto participant: “Encounters with Canada. It was an amazing opportunity to learn more of Canada’s history and where it stands today. It definitely opened my eyes on how much war veterans have sacrificed for our freedom. By going on this trip, it taught me more than I’ve learned in history class. Being a guest at the Canada Day Show was the highlight of my week and probably the highlight of my life. I never imagined being that close to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Canadian singers/bands, such as Marianas Trench and Jully Black. Also, going on this trip definitely inspired me to continue to learn French.”

As a follow-up, Encounters with Canada is proud to announce that Experience Canada will become its thirteenth theme week, thanks to the support of Exchanges Canada, a program of Canadian Heritage.