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Canada Plus – May

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

Canada Plus

A message from the High Commissioner

Gordon Campbell

What is a sesquicentennial?  Answer: It is the celebration of a 150th anniversary and this year, Canada celebrates a very important one. Alongside commemorations of the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landing and the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of WWI, Canada will mark the 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown Conference that was the driving force behind the creation of Canada.

To help us recognize this key moment in our history, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall will visit Prince Edward Island this month. They will also visit Nova Scotia and Manitoba on what will be their third trip to Canada together.

The Royal couple arrives in Halifax on May 18 on a four-day visit that will highlight Canadian achievement and our shared heritage.

Their tour comes just after Canada marks the National Day of Honour on May 9th that Prime Minister Stephen Harper declared earlier this year as a means of recognizing the contributions and sacrifices of the men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces who served in our military operation in Afghanistan. We will mark the day here in the UK with a ceremony at the Canada Memorial in Green Park. I hope you will join us for this special event, which takes place at 12.30pm.

While in Canada, Their Royal Highnesses will meet with groups that provide support services to military families at Canadian Forces Base Halifax that are so important to all those who serve.

That essential support at home was a key theme when injured Canadian bomb disposal expert Master Corporal Chris Downey delivered his Canada House Presents speech that recounted his trek to the South Pole as part of the Walking with the Wounded fundraiser with Prince Harry and injured soldiers from Canada, Australia, the UK and the United States.

Chris detailed the critical role of the whole team of support services and volunteers in the successful completion of the 265-km trek over 14 days spent in average temperatures of -55 degrees.  Chris pointed out that Prince Harry, another veteran of Afghanistan, very quickly became just another soldier and valued team member, with any sense of Royal formality quickly replaced by true camaraderie.

The Canada House Presents series also hosted General John de Chastelain, Canada’s former Chief of Defense Staff and Ambassador to Washington for a candid discussion led by Steve Paikin from TVOntario. General de Chastelain (Retired) gave rare insights into some of the most challenging moments of his military career - including commanding Canada’s involvement in the first Gulf War and his pivotal role in the Northern Ireland peace process.

Statue of Winnie and Harry Colebourn at London ZooDuring their upcoming visit, in addition to helping Canadians celebrate the Charlottetown Conference,  Their Royal Highnesses will travel more than 3,000 km to the west to Winnipeg to mark the centenary of an international celebrity – Winnie the Pooh.

Winnie, a Canadian black bear named after the city by the soldier who adopted him as regimental mascot in WWI, went on to become a favourite attraction at London Zoo and inspired AA Milne’s beloved character.

I hope you will be able to join me at the Canada Memorial at Green Park on May 9th to take some time to reflect on the men and women who have served Canada so well. And hopefully at some point in May, just for fun, you might also want to pull out your copy of Winnie the Pooh, go to one of the parks here, look at the flowers, have a read and enjoy the sunshine.

Signature - Gordon Campbell
Gordon Campbell

Photograph: Statue of Winnie and Harry Colebourn at London Zoo.


The Queen’s Baton relay

The Queen’s Baton and Governor GeneralThe Queen’s Baton relay spent four days in Canada last month, welcomed by the Governor General, as it starts to complete its route across the globe. Heading on to Europe, the baton will arrive in the Channel Islands on May 11, and will travel through the British Isles before arriving at the Opening Ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow on July 23.

Photograph: The Queen’s Baton / Chantal Petitclerc had the honour of presenting the baton to the Governor General in the presence of hundreds of students from the National Capital Region and members of the public. The Office of the Secretary to the Governor General. 

Collage - Jack and Emma, bottle and messageMessage in a bottle

A very unusual story came across our desks, which we wanted to share: a young couple in Devon walking along the beach discovered a plastic bottle with a message inside. It was from the captain of a Canadian scallop fishing boat, nearly 3,000 miles away! They emailed the Nova Scotian, Darren, who said that two more of his messages had been found: one in Jersey, the other in the south of France. An ancient way of connecting people in this age of instant international communication!

Photograph:  Jack and Emma from Devon

Sporting Art at the Games

As part of the Glasgow 2014 Cultural programme, visual artist Arpita Shah is producing a new series of photographic work, which will be exhibited during the Commonwealth Games. Portrait of Home will be a series of photographic portraits of families in Scotland which are culturally rooted to other Commonwealth countries. Arpita would like to invite families who have cultural connections to other Commonwealth countries to get involved in the project. For further information or to participate in the project please contact Arpita Shah directly via her website.

Oxbridge Canadian Conference

Last call to Canadian postgraduates to attend this year's Oxbridge Canadian Conference, May 30, 2014, at Macdonald House in London. Canadian early-career researchers who have obtained their PhD within the past two years are also welcome. The full-day event showcases Canadian research undertaken in the UK and offers an excellent networking opportunity. Elizabeth Palmer, Canadian journalist for CBS Evening News will be a guest speaker. Abstracts are due: 5 pm, April 25. The conference fee is £35 which includes lunch. For more details, please visit the Oxbridge Canadian Conference website.

Toronto Homecoming

Toronto Homecoming is a career networking event for professionals with ties to Canada who would like to meet employers in the Toronto region. Applications to attend the event in Toronto from October 9 – 11 will be accepted until the end of May. You can find more information on the Homecoming website.

Piping Hot Celebrations

As part of its centennial celebrations, the world-renowned Vancouver Police Pipe Band has been invited to join the Household Division’s Beating the Retreat concerts in London.

These annual concerts are performed on the historic Horse Guards Parade in front of the beautiful backdrop of St James’s Park each year on the Wednesday and Thursday evenings preceding the Queen’s Birthday Parade, or “Trooping The Colour” as it is often called.

Military Beating Retreat concerts have a long tradition dating back to the 1690s. Originally the beating of the drum was used to order troops to break off fighting and withdraw to the safety of camp as darkness fell, later it signaled the closing of the camp gates at the end of the day and called troops back to base for the night.
Tickets for the Household Division Military Musical Spectacular Beating Retreat cost from £15 and are available from Ticketmaster or via

The pipe band will also provide musical support to the St James’s Palace Detachment of The Queen’s Guard and Windsor Castle Guard from 16 – 27 June 2014. Changing of the Guard takes place at both locations at 11am every day.

Canada House Update

As we prepare to celebrate the re-opening of Canada House we want to ensure we include as many memories as possible of the important role it has played in Canadian and British history. We are particularly looking for people who would like to share their special memories or old photos of Canada House in the past. Please get in touch at

Further ahead, there are exciting sponsorship opportunities related to the re-opening of Canada House. Contact Stephanie MacMillan for further details at

Drawing - Canada House

Business Brief

A Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the EU is on its way, which will eliminate 98% of tariffs on goods traded and is expected to lead to a 20% boost in trade and a $12 billion (£6.5 billion) annual increase to Canada’s economy.  Now is a good time for businesses to consider what this agreement could mean for them. UK Trade and Investment is holding a conference for British companies interested in entering the market of one of the world’s richest and most developed countries, Canada. You can register for this free event on Eventbrite.

A Canadian company, Better Travel Photos, is branching out to the UK. They offer “photographic activities” in London such as tours teaching new photography skills. For more information, visit

Consular Corner

Spring seems to be the busiest time for the High Commission passport office, as people plan summer holidays. Because of the number of applications to process at the moment the expected processing time for passports is currently 25 business days. If you are considering renewing your passport (and remember many European countries insist that passports are valid for several months after your planned travel date) please give yourself as much time as possible.

If you have a question for us, please email with the subject line “Consular Corner”.

May Events

1 May – 13 May ¦ Velocity
Finborough, London ¦ Canadian director Blythe Stewart directs the European premiere of Daniel Macdonald’s play. Described as wildly theatrical and irreverently funny, the play was commissioned by the Finborough Theatre and is part of its series introducing Canada's best playwrights to the UK.

1 – 16 May ¦ Pup
Various UK venues ¦ Pup, from Toronto, play punk rock across the UK.

1 May – 29 June ¦ Moyra Davey
Camden Arts Centre, London ¦ Moyra Davey’s exhibition of recent work includes four videos that explore her investigations into text and her interest in literary and philosophical figures.

1 May – 27 September ¦ Let The Right One In
Apollo Theatre, London ¦ Montreal-born producer Marla Rubin’s current stage production marks the National Theatre of Scotland’s West End debut.   Based on the Swedish novel and cult-hit film by John Ajvide Lindqvist, and described as a chilling tale of loneliness, love and legend.

3 May – 1 June ¦ Brighton Fringe Festival
Brighton ¦ Stand-up comedians Bobby Mair, John Hastings and Mike Sheer represent Canada at this year’s Brighton Fringe Festival. Their performances run from May 5 to 18.

8 – 10 May ¦ The Great Escape
Brighton ¦ There’s a huge line-up of bands from across Canada at this year’s festival. Experimental sounds from DOOMSQUAD, ambient niceness with GIANNA LAUREN and indie pop from ALVVAYS are only a few of the musical offerings.

8 / 15 May ¦ Hannah Georgas
TGE Brighton / The Shacklewell Arms, London ¦ Singer-songwriter, Hannah Georgas plays emotional synth-pop.

8 – 9, 12 May ¦ Jenn Grant
TGE Brighton and The Islington, London ¦ Remarkable fusions of pop, folk and intimate lyrics from the Canadian singer/songwriter.

Canada House leaf9 May ¦ National Day of Honour
Green Park, London ¦ Everyone is welcome to join Canadians around the world in marking this, the first National Day of Honour in recognition of Canada’s military mission in Afghanistan. The ceremony at the Canada Memorial in Green Park will begin at 12:30p.m.

9 May ¦ Mise En Scene and Glory, Glory
Slaughtered Lamb, London ¦ Pull up the Roots presents four of Canada's up-and-comers fresh from TGE Brighton. Winnipeg’s Mise en Scene supported by Glory Glory, Bill Callahan and Crooked Brothers and Gianna Lauren.

9 – 10 May ¦ Powder Blue and GAY
Ace Hotel, London, TGE Brighton ¦ Saskatoon’s psychedelic rock grungers, Powder Blue, and summery upbeat GAY perform in Shoreditch.

10 – 11 May ¦ Boreal Sons and The Wet Secrets
TGE Brighton and Upstairs at the Garage, London ¦ Poetic ballads from Boreal Sons and five piece rock ‘n’ roll dance band, The Wet Secrets

10 – 11, 22 – 26 May ¦ White Lung
TGE Brighton / 100 Club, London / Leeds, UK ¦ Acclaimed Vancouver punk rockers  on tour. Their new album “Deep Fantasy” out June 17.

12 May ¦ Leif Vollebekk
Servant Jazz Quarters, London ¦ Singer / songwriter Leif Vollebekk worked on his new folk album North Americana for two years. He brings the result of that search for the perfect sound to Dalston in his only UK stop on a European tour.

12 – 13 May ¦ Rah Rah
TGE Brighton, Sheffield and London ¦ Saskatchewan indie rock ensemble tour the UK.

13 May ¦ York University Alumni Event
Macdonald House, London ¦ Join York’s President and Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri at the York University Alumni Reception, where guests will have the chance to catch up with other graduates from York. RSVP by May 6th.

17 May ¦ Diefenbaker’s 1950s Highland Hop
Helmsdale, Scotland ¦ As part of an exhibition called Diefenbaker’s North, the Timespan museum focusses on the 1950s, the era the Canadian Prime Minister returned to visit his Highland roots. The weekend will feature a creative writing session, vintage motorcade and ceilidh.

19 – 22 May ¦ Mac DeMarco
Various venues ¦ Montrealer Mac De Marco brings his brand of indie rock and roll to the UK.

22 – 25 May ¦ The Elwins
Various venues ¦ Indie rock band from Ontario The Elwins play songs from their new album, “And I Thank You”

24 May ¦ Stabat Mater – Opera in Space
Priory of St John’s Gate, London ¦ Opera in Space, led by Sylvie Gallant, reimagine Pergolesi’s masterpiece at an unusual London venue in a version that blends music and movement.

24 May ¦ Pop-Up Canada Party
The Hurlingham Pub and Kitchen, London ¦ To mark Victoria Day, Canadian food, music and beer will be available, with poutine from The Poutinerie and music by the Mid Atlantics.

26 – 27 May ¦ Yamantaka // Sonic Titan
Village Underground, London / Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar, Brighton ¦ Performance artists alaskaB and Ruby Kato Attwood serve up their unique Asian, Indigenous and Diasporic Art Collective.

28 May ¦ Hedley
100 Club, London ¦ BC pop-rockers Hedley play London as part of their European tour.

30 May ¦ Margaret MacMillan
Hay-on-Wye ¦ Historian Margaret MacMillan discusses her latest book “The War That Ended Peace” with Nik Gowing at the prestigious Hay Literary Festival.

May ¦ English Touring Opera
Around the UK ¦ English Touring Opera (ETO) has won the Laurence Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Opera for its current productions of Michael Tippett’s King Priam and Benjamin Britten’s Paul Bunyan. The staging of King Priam was a personal ambition of Canadian-born director James Conway.  Both operas are currently touring the UK as part of ETO’s Spring 2014 season.

May ¦ The Girl who was Saturday Night
UK ¦ Heather O’Neill, the Orange Prize-shortlisted author of Lullabies for Little Criminals, praised for ‘her powers of observation, understanding and narrative skills,’ returns with a new novel set in the bohemian quarter of Montreal.

May ¦ A Peasant’s Guide to Canada
UK ¦ Lyn Marsh's grandparents emigrated to Canada after the Finnish Civil War and brought with them resources and skills essential for survival in an evolving and sometimes hostile environment. In her new book, she recounts her pioneering life on a farm in Ontario while offering insights into life in Canada.

Until  5 July ¦ Edward Adamson and William Kurelek: Two artists of the mind
Bethlem Museum, South London ¦ This exhibit brings together works by Canadian artist William Kurelek, a former patient at the hospital with the work of Edward Adamson, the British man who pioneered art as therapy for those suffering from mental health problems.

Until  26 July ¦ Encountering the Uncharted and Back
Museum of Richmond, Surrey ¦ This exhibition highlights the achievements of three men in the world of exploration: Rear Admiral Henry Lidgbird Ball, Sir Richard Burton and Captain George Vancouver.  Captain Vancouver is best known for his 1791–95 expedition, which explored and charted North America's north-western Pacific Coast regions, including the coasts of contemporary Alaska, British Columbia, Washington and Oregon. Vancouver Island and the city of Vancouver are named after him.

Further Ahead

2 June ¦ Doing Business in Canada
BIS Conference Centre, London ¦ UK Trade & Investment hosts this free half-day networking conference for British companies interested in doing business in Canada. Presentations will include an overview of trade opportunities, especially given the new CETA, as well as case studies from companies who have already succeeded in Canada. Register using the link above.

18 June – 12 July ¦ East of Berlin
Southwark Playhouse, London ¦ Hannah Moscovitch’s play is described as a gripping memory about redemption from the sins of our fathers. It was nominated for a Governor General Award, and toured nationally to critical acclaim.

1 July ¦ Canada Day at Vimy Ridge
France ¦ Tour company Spirit of Remembrance is organising an historic Canada Day battleground tour to Vimy Ridge and Ypres which will start and finish in London.

8 November ¦ 2014 Maple Leaf Ball
The Savoy, London ¦ The Maple Leaf Trust has announced the return of the Maple Leaf Ball, a fundraising event for the Canadian community to be held at The Savoy Hotel. Sign up for email updates using the link above.


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

Archive - Canada Plus


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