What makes July 1, 2017 a milestone date in our country’s history? Aside from our annual Canada Day celebrations, it also happens to mark Canada’s 150th birthday. That’s right, this great nation of ours was founded on July 1, 1867 and even though the celebration is a ways away it’s not too early to get it on your radar.
Canada’s sesquicentennial year—there’s a new word for you—may be something many aren’t even aware of, so it’s important to start building anticipation and interest in the celebration. Organizations like the 150Alliance have been thinking about how to mark Canada’s 150th birthday since 2011—the catalyst of which was Governor General David Johnston challenging communities to imagine how they could build a “smarter and more caring nation.” That said, it’s important to look at this landmark as not only a capstone in Canada’s history, but as an opportunity for communities to come together in order to move our country forward in beneficial and exciting ways.
The Community Foundations of Canada, which launched the 150Alliance, suggests hosting a community conversation about what the 150th anniversary of Canada’s Confederation looks like. Since the event itself is still a ways away, it’s beneficial to have these types of conversations sooner rather than later in order to create a clear-cut vision as to what you’d like to achieve through these commemorations—discuss how members of the community can get involved, what the objectives are and the steps you’ll need to take in order to implement them. It’s a good idea to talk to different community leagues as well to see if they have any initiatives already in the works—these conversations will avoid any double-up and potentially create crossover between events, which in turn will help reach a broader demographic within the community and foster engagement.
The events that will be held on July 1, 2017 are important and should be given careful consideration, but Canada’s 150th goes beyond a single day—it should be viewed as a starting point for broader conversations and initiatives that will improve our country for years to come. It’s also imperative to keep in mind that resources like talent, technical equipment or a venue are going to be incredibly difficult to secure on the actual day—if you are going to hold an event on July 1, you’ll need to start booking these resources well in advance.
With that in mind, it will be worth investigating how you and your team can look at the broader picture and create opportunities to continue the momentum throughout the year rather than focusing on a single day.
Consider how you can use this time to inspire understanding, expand cultural and arts initiatives, improve the environment and bring Canadians together. Canada was built on many cultures and perspectives, and those will be equally important gong forward. Start brainstorming and planning now, and you’ll be ready to celebrate Canada’s past, present and future when the big day arrives.