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Canada Plus – May and June 2020

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

Photo - Janice CharetteWho could have predicted when I wrote to you in the last edition of Canada Plus on March 17 that we would still be largely working from home as May ends? Life under lockdown has been a strange and unsettling experience for many. Those of you who chose to remain in the UK may feel quite isolated from your family and friends who are thousands of miles away in Canada. Some may have been juggling working from home and getting to grips with video calls while managing childcare or home-schooling. Others may have been furloughed or lost your jobs as a result of the economic downturn. Some of you may have lost loved ones to COVID, or fallen ill yourself. It has taken a lot of patience, adjustment and equanimity to go through this period.
But it helps me to see some positive elements – an opportunity to slow down for a little while and take time to listen to the birds singing in the trees. To get out and ride a bike in the streets of central London, which I would never have attempted without the reduction in road traffic. Reading some good books, or catching up on some great films and television. Enjoying some of the best springtime weather in history.
On the work front, Canada House remains closed, except for emergency consular appointments. Only essential staff are going into the mission. The majority of High Commission staff continue to work from home where operationally possible. We do not foresee a change to this position in the near future. We are trying to support all of our clients virtually, so if you do need help, we are available. During this time, Canadians in need of emergency assistance should contact the High Commission on: 020 7004 6000 or You can also check our COVID-19 FAQs page, visit the Government of Canada’s official coronavirus advice page or check our Travel Advice and Advisories for the latest guidance. Be sure to register with the Register of Canadians Abroad to receive updates straight to your inbox. Note that we are currently unable to process routine passport or citizenship applications.
Despite the fact that we cannot be together in person, the team has been busy developing our new “digital by default” approach to public diplomacy. Next week, we will launch a new #CanadaGoesDigital initiative to highlight and share with our online audiences some of the incredible talent we have in Canada. The new Virtual Canada Gallery is now available to explore – do check out the stunning online exhibition of Indigenous artist Meryl McMaster. Over the next two months, look out for online film screenings, playlists of contemporary Canadian music and virtual literary festivals all headed your way. And with Canada Day on the horizon, you can look forward to our first-ever Virtual Canada Day on July 1, which we will be co-hosting with several other Canadian diplomatic missions in Europe. It looks set to be a fun-filled day of Canadian entertainment for all the family! For those of you who still want to host an event yourself (appropriately socially distanced of course!), you can get in touch to request a Canada Day-themed party kit. Details in the newsletter below.
Tough times never last, but tough people do. The future remains uncertain. Let’s try to focus on the things that have worked well for us during lockdown; the new habits or innovations that we would like to keep. I know that Canadians everywhere will be part of creating a better post-COVID world, working together with our friends in the UK and beyond. It calls to mind the “Blitz Spirit” that so many Britons experienced in World War 2, and which we were reminded of during the VE Day celebrations at the beginning of the month. Perhaps a “COVID Spirit” will endure, one in which we continue to look out for our neighbours and the most vulnerable members of our communities, where we find a healthy balance between home life and work, and where we all make time to listen to the birds singing in the trees.
Stay well. Stay safe. Take care of each other.
Warmest wishes,


 Signature - Janice Charette
Janice Charette

Consular Corner

Due to COVID-19, we have a much reduced on-site presence at Canada House, which means that we are unable to accept routine passport and citizenship applications at this time. Please do not mail your applications to us but do continue to check our website to see when normal services have resumed. The guidelines determine that all non-essential travel should be postponed. If you have an emergency such as a death in the family and require urgent passport services, please email:

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

IRCC Information

Question: I am due to start a program of education in Canada this summer, but I am unsure as to whether or not I am allowed to travel at this time. Could you please let me know what rules are currently in place? Thank you.

Answer: To manage the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced travel restrictions that limit travel to Canada. If you’re an international student who has a valid study permit, or were approved for a study permit on or before March 18, 2020, you’re exempt from the travel restrictions. If you were approved after March 18, 2020, please consult our website for further information. You must be healthy and not experience any symptoms of COVID-19 in order to board your flight to Canada. You must also comply with the guidelines on wearing a mask when travelling. When you arrive in Canada, we’ll assess your health before you leave the port of entry. You must have a plan to quarantine for 14 days following your arrival in Canada. This is mandatory, even if you have no symptoms. If you don’t have a quarantine plan, you should not travel to Canada. Furthermore, if your education program will only be offered online for time being, please keep in mind that your travel may be deemed discretionary or non-essential and you may not be allowed to travel to Canada. Find out more about travel restrictions and exemptions on the IRCC website.

Did you know

Ha! Ha! Ha! Very funny…

Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha! is a parish municipality in the Témiscouata Regional County Municipality in Quebec, near the south shore of the Saint-Lawrence River in Canada. It is the only municipality in the world with two exclamation points in its name!

The Canada House Honey Bunch

Did you know that Canada House is a member of Central London’s urban beekeeping initiative? That’s right, the roof of Canada House, which overlooks beautiful Trafalgar Square in the heart of Westminster, houses not one but two hives of bees, which help pollinate the lush parks near Whitehall. The honey harvested from these hives is given as gifts to visiting dignitaries or sold to staff to raise funds for the Government of Canada’s Charitable Workplace Campaign. As part of this initiative, we donated £540 of the proceeds from honey and lip balm sales (of a total donation from all Canada House charity fundraising of £2,364.02) to The Connection at St Martin-in-the-Fields, a charity that helps thousands of people every year to move away from, and stay off, the streets of London. All this work is done by our wonderful team of in-house volunteer beekeepers known as “The Honey Bunch”, providing volunteers with a unique opportunity to switch off from the day-to-day pressures of work, contribute to a good cause and do their little part to help fight climate change!

Watch the video we recently posted on our social media channels on the occasion of World Bee Day.

What’s Coming Up?

Visit the Meryl McMaster exhibition in our brand-new Virtual Canada Gallery!

Collage - McMaster, Cartography of the Unseen, 2019 | Edge of a Moment, 2017

L-R: Cartography of the Unseen, 2019 | Edge of a Moment, 2017

As part of its new #CanadaGoesDigital initiative, Canada House is excited to announce the launch of its first ever Virtual Canada Gallery. With current events having unfortunately forced the temporary closure of the Canada Gallery, we have been hard at work to bring the gallery to life online. Fans of the original Canada Gallery, previously only accessible to in-person visitors, will be delighted by this new virtual art experience. Head to Culture Canada to view Indigenous-Canadian artist Meryl McMaster’s latest series, As Immense as the Sky (2019). McMaster describes this exhibition as sculptural photography that gathers the wisdom and folklore of McMaster’s mixed heritage, drawing upon themes of memory, migration, genealogy and time as she retraces the footsteps of her ancestors. Her images explore the intersections of both her Indigenous and European heritage whilst revealing Canada’s conflicted colonial legacies. Explore all the works featured in the show with exclusive, never-before-seen artist commentary and audiovisual elements, including a narration of McMaster’s poems in Cree to accompany each piece of art.

Throughout June: Themed playlists from Canada’s Polaris Music Prize
To celebrate diversity and creativity in Canadian music, the High Commission has teamed up with Canada’s annual Polaris Music Prize to produce a series of playlists. Since 2006, Polaris has honoured and rewarded artists who produce music albums of distinction without regard to musical genre or commercial popularity. Follow their social media channels as they celebrate our country’s cultural and linguistic diversity, inclusion, and Indigeneity in the very best of Canadian contemporary music. Release dates throughout June.

June 5: World Environment Day
On June 5, we will celebrate World Environment Day with an online screening of the Canadian documentary, “Earth: Seen From The Heart” (La Terre Vue du Coeur, subtitled in English). In cooperation with the Québec Government Office in London in London and our Francophonie UK partners, this screening aims to shed some light on the current climate crisis. The film will be available for online streaming for a period of four hours on Thursday, June 4, from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. BST. If you are passionate about fighting climate change, please join us in watching this important and timely documentary! All the details are available on the Facebook event page.

June 5: CANADA NOW on Curzon Home Cinema
This year’s annual film showcase CANADA NOW will feature six films on Curzon Home Cinema opening with Atom Egoyan’s GUEST OF HONOUR on June 5. Alongside the films will by Q&As with talent from the productions. CANADA NOW is presented by Telefilm Canada in partnership with the High Commission of Canada in the UK and with the support of the Québec Government Office in London. Find out more here.

June 26: Celebrating Pride in London
On Friday, June 26, we will join forces with Pride in London to digitally celebrate the LGBT+ community. The evening will feature diverse talent from both the UK and Canada. Details to join the fun will be made available on our social media channels nearer the date. 

Canada Day 2020 - stay tunedJuly 1: Canada Day 2020 !
O Canada, this year we will be taking Canada Day online! Take part in the celebrations from the comfort of your own home. This year’s programme will include a variety show of Canadian musical acts and performances, video messages, interactive content for children, and much more! Make sure you tune in to our social media to get all the Canada Day updates as they come in.

And if you’re looking for that little something to make your Canada Day special this year, we’ve got you! On the 153rd anniversary of Canada’s confederation, we’ll be sending out 153 Party Packs to Canadians across the UK. Be one of the first 153 people to email us with your favorite Canada Day memory from previous celebrations, as well as your full name and UK residential address, at and we’ll send you a few things to spice up your (appropriately socially distanced!) celebrations. Please remember to share your photos on social media using #CanadaDayUK and to send us any snaps so that we can share them in our next Canada Plus!

From July 5: Digital Moon Festival Canadian Edition “The Moon and its Possibilities”
On July 5, the High Commission of Canada and the Moon Festival invite you to join the first iteration of the digital Moon Festival: a month of digital content celebrating the brightest rock in the sky and its relevance to Canadian culture. Opening the dances is none other than Canadian author Margaret Atwood with a number of readings from folklore to an original, unpublished moon-themed story. Following this literary giant, audiences will enjoy a free reeling of film, theatre, visual art from every corner of Canada. Subscribe to the newsletter here to receive weekly boosts of lunar love kicking off on July 5 and follow the hashtag #CanadianMoon on social media.

Follow us on social media!

With the current pandemic changing the way we work and interact, more and more interactive content is being made available online. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, both in English and French, for all the latest in Canadian culture online and news updates on #COVID19.

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