Program

Yearly Archives: 2014

23

Dec

Vancouver 2014 Conference: A Journey Home

“What do Salmon always do? They come back home.” Veronique Herry-St.Onge reflected to the crowd of Action Canada Fellows, representatives of the City of North Vancouver, and the Squamish First Nation as we were seated in the bright, newly designed atrium at the North Vancouver City Hall. We had spent the afternoon in the pouring Vancouver rain, experiencing the city’s own kind of salmon run, The North Shore Spirit Trail. I currently live in Boston but having grown up on the North shore of Vancouver, this felt especially true.

Walking the first part of the trail by the North Vancouver Marina, and speaking to the individuals who brought it to life gave us a special view of the partnership that created this large public project. The trail is a unique example of how collaboration between multiple governments can lead to the innovative development of public space. It’s the result of a partnership between The Squamish First Nation, The Federal Government, the Provincial Government, and the Cities of North & West Vancouver. It’s a project that symbolizes the building of relationships and the connecting of communities at a time when Vancouver, like many Canadian cities seems to be growing larger and more dispersed.

Once completed, the trail will provide any Vancouverite, visitor, or returning ‘salmon’ like myself, the opportunity to enjoy a cultural journey through some of the most beautiful shoreline Vancouver has to offer. And because the trail traces along land that is traditional Coast Salish territory, it is both uniquely reflective of the history of the land while also endeavoring to create new and shared history across communities. It’s a way to give the next generation, immigrants and children, the opportunity to go on a cultural journey with past and present caretakers of our land. While my current life journey takes me far from home, I’m excited to return again and again to experience this human ‘salmon run,’ both to retrace old memories and build new ones.

-Raven Smith, ’14

Publié parPosted by Action Canada
Dec 23rd, 2014
23 Dec 2014

22

Dec

Vancouver : une ville de contraste

Vancouver s’est présentée à moi comme une ville de contraste. C’est aussi la ville d’une question : comment peuvent se côtoyer les richesses d’un port dynamique et la pauvreté des résidents du Downtown Eastside?

Pendant mon séjour, j’arpentais East Hasting. J’y découvrais les cafés aux machines expresso rutilantes, les brasseries au décor précieux et les menus copieux d’opulents restaurants. Au coin des rues de ce quartier, je rencontrai aussi ses résidents de toutes les nuits : une panoplie édifiante de toutes les variations possibles sur le thème de la détresse. East Hasting est le quartier urbain le plus pauvre au Canada. Le revenu annuel médian y est de 13 600 $.

Aux abords du quartier, de l’autre côté du chemin de fer qui bloque l’accès aux berges, le port de Vancouver se déploie. 75 milliards $ de marchandise y transigent annuellement.

Dimanche, je découvrais le marché de guenilles — les locaux le nomment Junk Market — au coin de East Hasting. Un marché où chaque semaine se vendent les perles des ruelles et autres objets glanés par des marchands du dimanche. Annuellement, ces échanges commerciaux totalisent un peu plus d’un demi-million de dollars.

J’entendais au loin les cargos transportant les richesses de la province dont l’écho était un bref rappel de la distance qui séparent ces deux réalités.

Comment faire profiter les habitants du Downtown East side des richesses de l’activité portuaire?

 – Louis-François Brodeur ’14

Publié parPosted by Action Canada
Dec 22nd, 2014
22 Dec 2014

30

Oct

Yukon 2014 Conference: Fresh Perspective on City Life

In early June, I read Charles Montgomery’s  ‘Happy City’ as an introduction to the 2014-2015 Action Canada theme of the growing importance of municipal policy. The book vibrantly describes development challenges and encourages us to design a tomorrow with healthier and happier cities. I imagined a year exploring urban economics and environmental policy and had difficulty understanding how the Northern Conference would fit. Why visit small communities if your focus is re-engineering congested living spaces?

After a week in Canada’s North, I understood how important this conference has been in helping me understand this year’s theme: big cities have an effect on small communities. Rural-urban brain drain is just one example.  Even our group of sixteen fellows has two locals from the Yukon who shared how their academic and professional journeys have drawn them far away from home. This phenomenon is one I personally live, coming from a small town in Northern Ontario.  No one who has gone on to higher education from my high-school graduating year has ever returned.

Our group also met with several accomplished Yukoners who have returned to aid the economic and social development of their small communities in Dawson City, Carcross and Whitehorse, creating lives without dissonance that are shaping the future of the Yukon.   Since flying out of Whitehorse, their examples have challenged the narrative I tell myself about never returning to Northern Ontario.

And so, however I end up negotiating my own time and space in Canada’s large cities, the Yukon trip changed my perspective on this year’s theme;  it has made it a truly national project, and has called on me to better contribute to the place I still think of as ‘home’.

– Jesse Kancir ’14

Publié parPosted by Action Canada
Oct 30th, 2014
30 Oct 2014

27

Oct

Yukon 2014 Conference: Leadership Lessons

For 24 hours we were a group of six Action Canada Fellows criss-crossing the city of Whitehorse searching for information and perspective regarding Aboriginal law and the goal of reconciliation in the Yukon.  We spoke with local Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal business and government leaders, lawmakers, academics and artists.

Guiding us throughout was team leader Justin Ferbey, CEO of the Carcross Tagish Management Corporation and an Action Canada Fellow from 2007.   We listened, capturing what we heard in our notes, inspired by the successful path to self-government that‘s been forged by 11 out of 14 First Nations in the Yukon.

The next day, we eagerly gathered at the MacBride Museum of Yukon History to present our findings at the public dialogue. At that moment, seated on the panel with the faces of the Whitehorse community in full view, I recalled the previous afternoon, when we were seated cross legged along the Yukon riverside in the bright autumn afternoon sunlight listening to Marilyn Jensen.

She was speaking about the role of Aboriginal cultural pride and acceptance in carving out the Umbrella Final Agreement.  Marilyn, an instructor of First Nations Governance at Yukon College and a member of the Tlingit and Tagish Khwáan from the Carcross/Tagish First Nation, unassumingly stated “Self-determination lies in one’s own heart”.

For a self- proclaimed city girl like me, the Action Canada conference in Whitehorse was a truly transformational leadership experience.  Now back in Toronto, knowing that Justin, Marilyn and many others are strengthening the Yukon community, makes me a proud Canadian.

-Rann Sharma, ’14

Publié parPosted by Action Canada
Oct 27th, 2014
27 Oct 2014

23

Oct

Yukon 2014 Conference: Taking a Step Back in Time

Our chartered flight landed on an isolated strip in Minto, Yukon where we had a Turbo Beaver waiting to whisk us to Fort Selkirk. We had left our hotel in Dawson City at 10:15 am and our first group reached Fort Selkirk before 11:50 am. Pretty impressive given that a trip from Dawson City to Fort Selkirk would have taken a lot longer and would not have been as enjoyable in the late 1800s when Fort Selkirk was used as a trading post.

Even more impressive was Fort Selkirk itself. Set on the banks of the Yukon River, it used to serve as a strategic trading post for the Hudson Bay Company. Some of the buildings have been restored which gave us an impression of the idyllic, yet challenging life in this area.  Fort Selkirk had trade significance due to its location on the Yukon River where it meets with the Pelly River.

The expansion of the Klondike Highway in 1940s opened a faster route for people and goods. This eventually led to the abandonment of Fort Selkirk as a trading post, but this might also be the reason the site has been preserved from new development.

The trip was akin to stepping back in history, and it was a rare experience to be able to step back, relax and ponder how far we have evolved in terms of trade and transportation in a relatively short period of time.

And as with all good things, this visit came to an end, but I will always remember with fondness the few hours that we were able to spend in Fort Selkirk. Thanks Rick Nielsen and Keith Halliday for sharing such an amazing experience with us.

– Pankaj Sood, ’14

Publié parPosted by Action Canada
Oct 23rd, 2014
23 Oct 2014

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