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Canada Plus – April

Your monthly email newsletter from the High Commission of Canada in the United Kingdom. Subscribe now to Canada Plus.

Canada Plus

Gordon Campbell

A message from the High Commissioner

April is shaping up to be a big month for us!

In theory, it will bring some spring-like weather, but then again…

What we do know for certain is that there are two really great Canadian events taking place.

First, from April 17th-21st the National Ballet of Canada will be here in London performing a spectacular new Romeo and Juliet at Sadler’s Wells! Under the Artistic Direction of the incredible Karen Kain, I know the ballet is going to WOW London audiences. It is the first time the ballet has been back to London in a generation and was staged in celebration of their 60th anniversary. If you like ballet you’ll love this and if you are not sure, this is the performance to try. It promises to be memorable for all concerned.

April also brings us another special visit – this time it is the Canadian destroyer the HMCS Iroquois.

The Iroquois will be moored at London’s West India dock from Saturday, April 27 until April 30 to help celebrate the 70th anniversary of the turning point in the Battle of the Atlantic.

Commodore Darren Hawco, commander of the three-ship task group that will be here to help mark the anniversary, assures us that the crew of the Iroquois are eager to welcome visitors aboard. Why not visit and get a taste of what life at sea is like for the 282 crew who call her home? Get to know some of the great people that serve in the Royal Canadian Navy and say thanks for all they do. The destroyer HMCS Iroquois is the flagship of the Royal Canadian Navy’s Atlantic Fleet. She was first launched in 1970 and commissioned in 1972. 

The Battle of the Atlantic was the longest campaign of World War II and Canada’s role was crucial to Allied victory.

Thanks to the safe delivery of supplies, troops and equipment from Canada and the United States, Britain was saved from starvation and the Allies were able to prepare for the D-Day landings.

Together, the Royal Canadian Navy and Royal Canadian Air Force sank or played a role in the destruction of 31 enemy submarines. But we should always remember that the safe passage of more than 25,000 merchant ships under Canadian escort came at a steep price. We lost 14 warships to U-boat attacks and another eight ships to collisions and other accidents in the North Atlantic – more than 2,000 members of the RCN and over 750 of the RCAF lost their lives in combat at sea. Proportionally, one in 10 people that served in the 12,000 strong Canadian Merchant Marine aboard Canadian and Allied merchant ships were lost at sea.

The HMCS Iroquois will also join in Battle of the Atlantic anniversary ceremonies in Liverpool, the final destination for so many of those essential supply ships granted safe passage by Canada’s sailors.

Canada’s efforts at sea are no less relevant today than in 1943. Prior to her stop in London, Iroquois will join HMCS Preserver and HMCS St John’s for joint tactical exercises aimed at testing our ability to work alongside our allies. The skills honed during that important NATO exercise will be put to use on a daily basis in our current anti-terrorist role in the Arabian Sea and counter-drug operations in the Caribbean. It was this kind of exercise that was essential preparation for the 2011 campaign in Libya.

Please do plan a visit London’s West India Dock to help us celebrate Canada’s rich maritime history in the heart of London.

Have a great April. I am sure the sun will be out soon!

Gordon Campbell



– Gordon Campbell


April sees the opening of the world-renowned Canadian artist Geoffrey Farmer’s first major showing in a UK public gallery. The Curve Gallery at the Barbican welcomes this major installation, entitled The Surgeon and the Photographer.

The work is comprised of 365 puppet-like figures assembled from old magazine clippings, pieces of fabric, wire and other materials. This will be the first time the installation is exhibited outside of North America.

Installation - The Surgeon and the PhotographerGeoffrey’s career has risen meteorically since 1997 and he has participated in some 55 group shows at galleries across Canada and internationally.  Leaves of Grass, his work at Kassel Documenta 13, considered to be among the most important exhibitions for contemporary art in the world, was one of the most-talked about contributions to the visual arts scene in 2012.

The free exhibit will be open to visitors at the Barbican until 28 July.

Photo courtesy of Rachel Topham, Vancouver Art Gallery

Art reunited

The High Commission in London was delighted to play a small but hopefully significant role in reuniting the family of a deceased Royal Canadian Air Force member with a painting that was donated to RAF Kinloss in Scotland in his memory.

Painting - maple leaf collageThe painting was a gift from the widow of Flight Lieutenant Denny Fillion, who was on a RAF exchange in 1967 when he died on a training exercise. Without a plaque attached to explain its significance, the maple leaf collage was misplaced amid the passing of time. But thanks to the efforts of two former colleagues of Flt-Lt Fillion, and ahead of the planned closure of RAF Kinloss, the heritage team on the base found the painting in storage. In early March, it was formally handed over to Brigadier General Michael Dabros at the High Commission and forwarded on to Flt-Lt Fillion’s family in Canada.

Icy expedition

Teams from the UK, Commonwealth, the US and support trained for two weeks in IcelandSticking with our military theme this month, we bring you an update about the extraordinary efforts of the Canadian participants in the South Pole Allied Challenge 2013. The statistics speak for themselves when it comes to describing what this particular challenge involves – three teams, 335 kilometres, 16 days, temperatures of -35 Celsius, constant winds and life-changing injuries.

Sgt James McIntyre, MCpl Chris Downey and Cpl Alexandre Beaudin d'Anjou just spent two weeks training in Iceland as part of the selection process. MCpl Downey has written a moving blog about their progress, the lessons learned and their experiences so far.

Religious Freedom

Canada’s newly appointed Ambassador for Religious Freedom, Andrew Bennett, made his first visit to Britain last month. In addition to a call on Baroness Warsi, the Minister of State for Faith & Communities, Ambassador Bennett met with parliamentarians, religious leaders, academics and non-governmental organisation representatives. He also participated in the annual Peace Symposium at the Ahmadiyya mosque in south London and called upon His Holiness Mirza Masroor Ahmad, spiritual leader of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim community.

Tweet, tweet…

TwitterIn addition to our monthly Canada Plus round-up of what Canada and Canadians in the UK are doing, don’t forget you can follow us on Twitter. We’ve just launched a new French language stream @CanadienRU or follow us in English on @CanadianUK.

Enter to win:

  • Romeo and julietThere has been an overwhelmingly positive response to our contest to win tickets to see the National Ballet of Canada with their 60th anniversary performance of Romeo and Juliet at Sadler’s Wells. If you would like to win two tickets to the opening night on April 17th courtesy of Sadler’s Wells, please sign a friend up to receive the newsletter by sending their email to with the subject heading Romeo and Juliet. Don’t delay, we are drawing names on April 10th.

    Elena Lobsanova and Guillaume Côté in Romeo and Juliet. Photo by Bruce Zinger.
  • Brasstronaut, the award-winning Vancouver band whose music combines indie rock with jazz, blues, soul and brass instruments will be performing in London on Wed, April 24th. We are offering two tickets to give to Canada Plus readers for the performance. To enter, again, just sign up a friend to receive our newsletter each month with the subject line Brasstronaut.
  • Arctic Film Festival - Aaju PeterThe same entry rules apply for your chance to win a box set of Unikkausivut: Sharing our Stories, 24 National Film Board of Canada films showcasing Canada’s rich Inuit culture. Several of the films were shown as part of the Arctic Film Festival which was a key draw at this year’s Cambridge Science Festival held late last month. Use the subject line Arctic.
  • Act fast for a chance of free tickets to see a Gilles Vonsattel recital on Friday, April 5 at 7.30 at Wigmore Hall. The Swiss-born American pianist was the 2009 winner of the triennial Calgary-based Honens International Piano Competition that aims to support young pianists. Sign up a friend to the Canada Plus newsletter for your chance to win, with the subject line Piano .

Consular Corner

Q: As a Canadian who has relocated to the UK, am I able to obtain a UK drivers’ licence?

A: If you are resident in the UK there is indeed an agreement between Canada and the UK which allows you to exchange your Canadian licence for a UK licence. For more information as well as information on Canadian driving licences, please refer to our consular services website.

If you have a consular question for the Canadian High Commission, please send it to with Consular Corner in the subject line.

April events

April 9 ¦ Rotman School of Management Strategy Experts Speaker Series
Thomson Reuters Building (Auditorium) 30 South Colonnade, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5EP ¦ Roger Martin, Dean and Professor of Strategic Management at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, will lead a discussion with A.G. Lafley based in part on their new book Playing To Win: How Strategy Really Works. Audience Q&A will follow.

April 10 ¦ Ocean Business 2013: Growing Markets and World-Class Research Opportunities
National Oceanography Centre, Southampton ¦ There will be a Canada Country Focus at this year’s Ocean Business Exhibition. Three free seminars are on offer focusing on Canada’s National Shipbuilding and Procurement Strategy, Accessing Canada’s World Leading Testing and Demonstration Infrastructure and a Window on Emerging Innovation from Canada.  To register please contact:

April 17 – 21 ¦ The National Ballet of Canada
Sadler’s Wells ¦ After 26 years, Canada’s premier dance company returns to the UK, with its production of Romeo and Juliet, created in 2011 for the company’s 60th anniversary. This is a rare chance to see the National Ballet perform at Sadler’s Wells in London.

April 23 ¦ Canada House Presents Marc Kielburger
Canada House ¦ Marc Kielburger is one of the world’s leading figures in corporate social responsibility, social activism and youth empowerment. A Harvard and Oxford graduate, Rhodes Scholar, columnist and best-selling author, Marc is co-founder of Free the Children and Me to We. This is a free event, but you must book in advance through with the subject line 'Canada House Presents'.

April 24 ¦ Vancouver band Brasstronaut performs at the Lexington in London

April 26, 27 ¦ Electro-pop sensation Peaches is at the Sundance London Film and Music

April 28-29 ¦ HMCS Iroquois in London 
West India Dock, London ¦ The flagship of the Royal Canadian Navy’s Atlantic Fleet sails into London on 27 April and will dock at West India Dock in Canary Wharf. The HMCS Iroquois will be open to the public for free tours on the 28th and 29th from 10 am until 2pm. Families and children are welcome and a tour of the ship takes about an hour. Please note that due to stairs and narrow access, the ship is not easily accessible for those with limited mobility or children in strollers.  The West India Dock is easily reached by public transit via the Jubilee Line to Canary Wharf station or the Docklands Light Railway to Heron Quay.

Ongoing events:

Until May 1 ¦ Commonwealth Essay Competition
The annual essay competition is open to entries by young people across the Commonwealth.

Until May 19 ¦ Bright Land: West of the Rockies and South of the Thames
Dulwich Picture Gallery is proud to show work by Liz Charsley-Jory, Canadian Artist in Residence, inspired by Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven. This exhibition will showcase some of Liz’s most colourful landscapes. The exhibition will include oil pastel, charcoal and ink drawings and, while it does not attempt to replicate the style of the Group of Seven, displays a similar engagement with landscape.

Until July 28 ¦ Geoffrey Farmer: The Surgeon and the Photographer
The Barbican, London ¦ The Curve gallery at the Barbican hosts celebrated Canadian contemporary artist Geoffrey Farmer’s first major UK solo exhibit in a public gallery space. Admission is free.

Planning ahead

May 10 ¦ Canada Seminar at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University
This year the seminar welcomes Susan Ormiston, CBC’s television correspondent in London. In addition to reporting on key international events, including the election of President Nelson Mandela in South Africa in 1994, Susan has covered wars and rebellions in Afghanistan, Syria, Libya and Egypt and while based in London, covered last year’s Olympic Games and HM the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. There is no charge for the event, but if you are planning to attend then please email the Lady Margaret Hall Development Office or call 01865 274362 by Wednesday 8 May 2013.

May 24-27 ¦ Battle of the Atlantic commemoration in Liverpool
HMCS Iroquois  will join vessels from the Royal Navy and other Allied nations to mark the 70th anniversary of the turning point in the Battle of the Atlantic. Events include flypasts, memorial services and tours of some of the ships taking part.

June 1 ¦ Oxbridge Canadian Conference, Canada House on Trafalgar Square
The High Commission will host a conference called “Positioning Canada: Emerging Economies, Scientific Frontiers and Socio-political Challenges”.  It aims to offer Canadian graduates at Cambridge and Oxford a chance to meet and share ideas both between institutions and with the High Commission.

Save the date and look for further details in next month’s newsletter

June 17 and 19 ¦ Neil Young and Crazy Horse  perform at London’s O2 arena

June 21 ¦ Leonard Cohen performs at the O2 arena

July 1 ¦ Canada Day celebrations on Trafalgar Square
This year’s event promises a red hot line up of great food, entertainment and a dose of street hockey. Stay tuned for more details in next month’s Canada Plus.

July 2 ¦ The Tragically Hip
Nine number one albums, 14 Juno Awards, the classic Canadian rockers who need no introduction have announced one special show at KOKO in London in July.

July 18-21 ¦ Theakston Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival
Harrogate ¦ Mystery lovers will be delighted to hear that Canadian crime writing sensation Louise Penny has confirmed her attendance at this internationally-renowned festival that welcomes the best of the best of crime fiction.


For more news of culture and the arts with Canadian connections appearing in the UK check out our Calendar of Events.

Employment opportunities


The University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management is offering UK employers the chance to hire MBA interns during the summer of 2013. The UK Internship Program is administered by Matilda Kentridge, Rotman's Director UK & Europe, who is based in London. If you would like to discuss hiring a Rotman Intern this summer please contact Matilda Kentridge at: or 07867 522 002

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