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Canada Plus – June

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 CampbellSixty years ago this month the Campbell family got its first television. It was rented for a very special occasion, the Coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in Westminster Abbey.

June 2nd 1953 was a turning point in British history.  It was the first time, courtesy of a nascent BBC television, that a Coronation was beamed around the world, capturing images of a young Queen – the full gravity of the role ahead of her etched on her face.

I remember the flickering screen that had been set up with rabbit ears in the sun room off our living room. Television technology being what it was, the sun room offered the best reception.

We watched the scenes on the streets as Britons were not only bringing out the bunting for their new Sovereign, they were celebrating their emergence from the darkest post-war days. The rationing of sugar, eggs and sausages had just been lifted and optimism was the order of the day.

In Ottawa, Canada’s first Canadian-born Governor General and High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Vincent Massey, revived the use of the State carriage for the Coronation when he travelled from Rideau Hall to Parliament Hill under escort by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Once there, he introduced Her Majesty’s speech ahead of the broadcast.

Back in Vancouver, in our little sunroom, the Campbell kids had Union Jacks and Red Ensigns ready to wave at a moment’s notice. We stared in awe at the big box with the little screen in the middle. Snow – from poor reception, not poor weather - danced across the picture.

In her speech, Her Majesty described the lasting, core value of her realms: “Parliamentary institutions, with their free speech and respect for the rights of minorities, and the inspiration of a broad tolerance in thought and expression - all this we conceive to be a precious part of our way of life and outlook.”

Norman Robertson was in London on his second tour of duty as Canada’s High Commissioner. He was an exceptional career diplomat, a Rhodes scholar and a man with a front row seat on the Paris Peace talks. Robertson’s post-war years in London were a sign of the value of the relationship between the UK and Canada during those difficult days of rebuilding.

Those shaky, flickering images across our TV screens opened a new world to Canadians back in 1953. At the centre of it was Her Majesty and the principles she espoused.

That snowy reception on a black and white set has given way to viewing-on-demand direct to our big screen HD televisions, our tablets and even our blackberries, yet Her Majesty’s message remains as salient today as it was back in 1953.

Our shared history continues to evolve as our two nations work together with common goals and common aspirations. Last year, I lit two beacons on the top of Canada House on Trafalgar Square to celebrate Her Majesty’s reign.

This year I cannot help but think of the how much the world has changed since I caught that first glimpse of Her Majesty as a boy in Vancouver. I have grown up in a place where free speech, democratic institutions and the rights of minorities are respected and revered.

What a gift that has been to all of us who live in her Majesty’s realms. The world has changed but those defining principles have endured.

Gordon Campbell

Gordon Campbell

A few random facts about 1953:

— Louis St Laurent was Prime Minister of Canada — The polio vaccine was invented — It was the first year of the fabulous Stratford Festival — Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and From Here to Eternity were released — Peter Pan debuted on stage  —

Collage - Angela Hewitt, Gerald Finley, Canada House

Classical pianist Angela Hewitt performed at Canada House in May with renowned baritone Gerald Finley.


Prime Minister Stephen HarperJune is shaping up to be a busy month for Canada in London. Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been invited to address the British Parliament on June 13, ahead of the G8 summit in Lough Erne, Northern Ireland on June 17 and 18. The invitation is considered a sign of the broad and deep relationship between Canada and the UK and only a small number of world leaders have been given that honour, including Barack Obama, Mikhail Gorbachev and the Dalai Lama. It is the first time since Mackenzie King that a Canadian prime minister has been invited to speak to both Houses of the UK Parliament.

Photograph: The Office of the Prime Minister

Get London’s kids reading Canadian

Bring us your children’s books! Canada House is delighted to have a front-row seat on Trafalgar Square for the London Evening Standard’s exciting ‘Get London Reading Festival’ taking place on Saturday, July 13. To help their bid to boost literacy, we are asking for donations of Canadian children’s books that can be given away on the day. To help out, just hand in your new or gently used books by Canadian children’s authors at the Canada House Gallery entrance on Pall Mall.  (Open weekdays 11 – 5:45 p.m. Saturdays 12 – 5pm and late on Thursdays until 8pm.)

Rock the Square

Canada Day in Trafalgar Square 2012The clock is also ticking towards yet another fabulous July 1st Canada Day celebration on Trafalgar Square in the heart of London. None other than George Stroumboulopoulos and Heather Hiscox will host this year’s Canadian celebration. Headliners The Tragically Hip, Jann Arden, Arkells and The Sheepdogs will keep the momentum going after dark, with yoga, street hockey, First Nations Pow-Wow and Round Dance singing group Northern Cree during the day. You might even meet a Mountie, grab a temporary Canadian flag tattoo or raise a balloon to help us celebrate our nation’s 146th birthday. Events run from 10:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

To kick-off the special day, we are offering you a chance to win tickets for yourself and your immediate family (maximum four per contest entrant) to attend a pancake breakfast inside Canada House. Hosted by the Canadian High Commission and the Alberta-United Kingdom Office, breakfast is served at 10.30 a.m. To enter our draw, just send us an email to with the word “pancake” in the subject line and containing the following information:

Your full name, your nationality, your passport number, your date of birth and the number of tickets you would like up to a maximum of four.  Please send in your details by June 19, 2013 and we’ll email you by June 20 if you’ve won a ticket. If your name isn’t picked, we’ll place you on a waiting list and let you know if spots become available.

Additionally, in honour of Canada Day, on July 2nd, our country’s enduring ties to the Commonwealth will be recognized in a service at Westminister Abbey when High Commissioner Gordon Campbell will read a lesson at Evensong and special prayers will be said for Canada. Westminster Abbey has invited 30 Canadians to attend the service. To secure a place at the service, please send an email to Canada Plus at with the word “Westminster” in the subject line.

Prized writer

One to watch: Congratulations to Canadian writer Eliza Robertson, who has won the Commonwealth Short Story Prize for best piece of unpublished short fiction in Canada and Europe. She was also chosen as one of two joint overall winners, announced at the Hay Literary festival last week. 

Canada remembers

HMCS Iroquois led a Canadian delegationLooking back to last month’s highlight, the HMCS Iroquois led a Canadian delegation, including veterans, in moving Battle of the Atlantic commemoration ceremonies in Liverpool.

The Iroquois, the flagship of Canada’s Atlantic fleet, joined sailors from other Allied nations in marking the turning point in what is considered to be the longest battle of World War II. The Princess Royal led the tributes to the sailors, both civilian and military, who sacrificed so much to ensure the safe delivery of supplies, troops and equipment to a depleted United Kingdom. Canada’s role in saving Britain from starvation was crucial to Allied victory.

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.

Photo: Crew from HMCS Iroquois joined in the commemoration parade, credit: Corporal Anthony Chand, DND

More chances to win

You could win two tickets to see the acclaimed young violinist and Juno award winner Alexandre Da Costa perform Lorca’s Songs, a mix of music and spoken word performance that pays tribute to Spanish music and poetry. Send an email including a friend’s email address to receive the newsletter to with the subject line ‘Lorca’ to enter.Sweet Bird of Youth

The fabulous (and Canadian) Kim Cattrall stars in Sweet Bird of Youth by Tennessee Williams at the Old Vic. She plays a fading Hollywood legend who flees the disastrous premiere of her comeback film. Win tickets to see the performance on June 19th by sending along an email signing up a friend to receive our newsletter with ‘Sweet Bird’ in the subject line.

You could win two tickets to see the Vancouver musician who has been compared with Tom Waits and Bruce Springsteen and described as sounding like Neil Young inspired by hip-hop. C.R. Avery plays London on June 26. To enter our draw, just send us an email signing a friend up to receive the newsletter with the word ‘Avery’ in the subject line. 

Canadian wine and food tasting

Canada House also played host to a special Canadian wine and food tasting.

Consular Corner

Registration for Travelling Canadians

  • Are you planning to travel this summer? If so, you may wish to complete a simple self-registration at On this site you will also find information and tips on destinations, travel documents, travel health, returning to Canada and much more.

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

Don't miss in June  

June 10 ¦ Tiffany Circle
Canada House - The Tiffany Circle is a group that combines success and philanthropy, an organisation of women passionate about the work of the Red Cross. This event is titled “How successful women have transferred business acumen to philanthropic endeavours for maximum impact”. The panel discussion will be hosted by Zain Verjee, born in Kenya and raised in Canada, who now hosts CNN’s World One. To attend please contact Monica Brinn at the British Red Cross on 02078777459 or

June 11 ¦ International History Seminar Series, University of London
In this public lecture, Dr. Jatinder Mann (King’s College London) will examine the way in which Australia, Canada and New Zealand – all Dominions within the British Empire, responded to the involvement of Japan in the war, particularly as an ally of the Empire. The lecture will take place at 6pm in the Holden Room (103), First Floor of Senate House, University of London. The lecture is free to attend and open to all. Registration is not required.

June 14 ¦ Inuit Ullumi: Inuit Today
Canada House is pleased to present this exciting exhibition of contemporary Inuit art in association with TD Bank. The exhibit will be free and open to the public in the Canada House Gallery in Trafalgar Square. Open weekdays 11 – 5:45p.m. Saturdays 12 – 5p.m. and late on Thursdays until 7.45p.m. 

June 14 ¦ Canadian Chief Economists Panel Debate and Lunch
The Grange City Hotel - The Canada-UK Chamber of Commerce hosts this panel event of top Canadian economists to cover issues such as currencies, interest rates, equity markets, commodities, GDP growth, inflation and austerity. Register on the CUKC website above.

June 17 ¦ UCL Canadian Studies Seminar Series ‘NATO, Afghanistan and Canadian Alliances’
In this public lecture, Karolina MacLachlan (King’s College London) will examine the evolution of Canadian alliance relationships with NATO and the United States during the Canadian Forces’ deployment to Kandahar in 2005 – 2011. The lecture is free and will take place at the UCL Institute of the Americas at 6pm. For further information or to register your interest please contact 

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

June 21 ¦ Leonard Cohen performs at the O2 arena

June 27 ¦ Study in Canada seminar
Canada House will play host to this one day workshop for career and university counsellors in the UK who have students interested in attending university abroad for undergraduate studies. Everything from study permits to detailed presentations by Canadian universities will be covered. If you would like to attend please email with ‘June 27’ in the subject line.

June 28 ¦ Postgraduate Opportunities seminar
Day two of our education event sees us welcome potential postgraduate students who want to know more about what Canada’s first-class universities have to offer. This half-day session will offer students a chance to network with alumni and fellow students as well as providing details on study permits, work permits, and presentations by a dozen key Canadian universities. To be added to the guest list, please email with ‘June 28’ in the subject line.

Until July 28 ¦ Geoffrey Farmer: The Surgeon and the Photographer
The Barbican – 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

July 1 ¦ Canada Day Education Fair and MBA seminar
Anyone interested in Canada as a study or research destination are invited to visit us on Trafalgar Square to learn more from our teams of representatives from a dozen major Canadian universities and colleges. If you are looking specifically at MBA possibilities, we will also be hosting an MBA seminar late afternoon. To add your name to the guest list, please email with ‘MBA’ in the subject line.

July 1 ¦ Canada Day
Trafalgar Square – None other than George Stroumboulopoulos and Heather Hiscox will host this year’s Canadian celebration. Headliners The Tragically Hip, Jann Arden, Arkells and The Sheepdogs will keep the momentum going after dark, with yoga, street hockey First Nations Pow-Wow and Round Dance singing group Northern Cree during the day. You might even meet a Mountie. 10:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

July 2 ¦ The Tragically Hip
Nine number one albums, 14 Juno awards, the classic Canadian rockers who need no introduction have announced a special show at KOKO in London following their Canada Day appearance.

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.

July 30 – 31 ¦ `Canada Abroad` Conference
Herstmonceux Castle, Sussex – Queen`s University`s Bader International Study Centre (BISC) is hosting a conference entitled `Canada Abroad`. The conference will be held over two days and will explore questions related to Canada`s historic and current roles in the world including: Canadian Education and Study Abroad, The State of Canadian Studies in Britain and Europe, Canadian Artists and Writers in an International Context, Canadians in International Sports, Canadian Business Abroad, Canada`s Role in WW1 and WW2, Canada`s Contemporary Role in International Affairs, and The View from Abroad: International Perceptions of Canada. For registration information and rates, please contact


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

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