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Canada Plus – August

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 CampbellFrom my very first days here in London, I have marvelled at the deep roots of history that bind Canada and the United Kingdom together.   How lucky can you get? There was the Diamond Jubilee, then the Olympics, the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty’s Coronation and then, on July 22 came the birth of the third in line to the Throne – a future King of Canada.
The day will be remembered by all of us who were fortunate enough to be here – the anticipation, expectation, the bookies laying odds, the fervent speculation over “boy or girl” as the crowds grew outside both the hospital and Buckingham Palace.

Four hours after the new Prince of Cambridge was born at 4:24 pm, I was copied on the email that the Palace sent to inform the Governor General and requested that he tell the Prime Minister. The traditional channels of relaying news of a Royal birth had arrived firmly in the modern age and within a breath and an electronic flurry, the world had been told the good news.

Before you knew it, everything turned blue – from Niagara Falls to the fountains in Trafalgar Square all the way to the Peace Tower in Ottawa. A special thanks to the hundreds who signed the book of congratulations we had open at Canada House, all of your messages conveyed a warmth and generosity of spirit that I believe helps define who we are as Canadians.

There is a sense of history that runs through the United Kingdom and there isn’t a month that goes by that we don’t have an event or anniversary to commemorate.

Gordon Campbell at the National Railway MuseumOn July 3, I joined aficionados at the National Railway Museum in historic York for the Great Gathering. This reunion brought together the remaining A4 steam locomotives to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the world speed record for steam set back in 1938 by the Mallard, designed by Sir Nigel Gresley. It hit a top speed of 126 miles per hour – a record that stands to this day!

Vincent Massey had celebrated the recommissioning of the Mallard’s sister engine, the Dominion of Canada, alongside Sir Nigel back in 1937. In York, I was asked to help recreate the picture taken of the two on that day and I was joined by Sir Nigel’s grandson, Tom Godfrey. The Dominion of Canada has been lovingly restored and brought back to Britain from Exporail, Canada’s national rail museum in Montreal, for this year’s celebrations. 

As I stood on the Dominion of Canada, I was reminded of the enormous impact the railways had on Canada’s history. Without the steam locomotive, there would be no Canada as we know it. Those ribbons of steel brought the country together from sea to sea. Today, in the world of instant communication, it is so easy to forget that the railways closed distances that would have been thought impossible just a decade or two before.

Returning to MacDonald House, I walked up the steps and looked at Vincent Massey’s picture. He served as High Commissioner at an incredible time of change and went on to become our first Canadian-born Governor General.

Massey was our third longest-serving High Commissioner. The longest was Donald Alexander Smith, the Lord Strathcona and Mount Royal (1896-1914). He was born in Forres, Scotland, but served in both the Manitoba Legislature and in the House of Commons. He co-founded the CPR and was a major shareholder of the Hudson Bay Company. He became renowned as a philanthropist and may hold the record for the High Commissioner with the greatest impact on Canada.

But it is a tough field because Sir Charles Tupper also served as High Commissioner here with just a short break (1883-1896).  Born in Amherst, Nova Scotia, Tupper served as Premier and was a true Father of Confederation, playing a critical role in the creation of Canada in 1867. He held a number of federal cabinet posts before becoming High Commissioner and was Prime Minister for about 10 weeks before he lost the election in 1896 to Sir Wilfrid Laurier. 

One of the great benefits of serving in London is finding those historic ties no matter where I go. I hope you get a chance to discover some of your own over the summer. Who knows, you may even find them at Canada House.

 Gordon Campbell
 Gordon Campbell

Book of congratulations & the Peace Tower
Left: Gordon Campbell signs the book of congratulations. Right: In honour of the birth of the son of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill was illuminated in blue (photograph - the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General).


Princely celebrations

Canadians in the United Kingdom turned out in force to help us wish the Royal family our heartfelt congratulations at the birth of their baby boy, George Alexander Louis, on July 22 by signing the book at Canada House.

Getting social

The Canadian High Commission has joined Facebook! It gives us an opportunity to share even more photos, news and events with you. Please drop by and “Like” our page at CanadaintheUK or CanadaauRoyaumeUni and you can browse our photo albums of historic Canada House, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s tour of Canada or our extensive Canada Day collection. Please tag your friends, invite them to like our page, and feel free to share any of the posts on your own feed.

Trade and Investment

While the United Kingdom remains Canada’s third most important export market, the first 5 months of 2013 show that our trade with the UK is slipping. Canadian exports from January to May were down by 15%.  This is almost entirely accounted for by a decline in gold shipments coupled with a sharp decline in the price of gold, and a significant decline in the exports of Canadian diamonds to this market.  The latter is a result of a decision by DeBeers to relocate its diamond sorting operations from London to Botswana.  As a result, shipments of Canadian diamonds to the UK have declined by 70%. From a peak of $1.65 billion in diamond exports in 2010, the trend for this year suggests that exports to the UK will fall to around $460 million. Unfortunately, these declines in major resource sector products have not yet been replaced by more value added goods. The goal of increasing our trade with the UK has to be met through increases in other high-value products. This is possible as the UK and the rest of Europe recover from the economic challenges. There continue to be market opportunities here, which the Canadian High Commission’s trade team can help identify for Canadian exporters. Happily, on the investment side, the UK’s investment into Canada in 2012 increased by some $7.3 billion, the highest one-year increase over the past several, ensuring that the UK remains the third largest foreign investor into Canada.

Religious freedoms

Canada House was pleased to host Dr Paul Bhatti, the Pakistani religious freedom campaigner and former minister of national harmony and minority affairs to take part in a lively discussion on the subject alongside Canada’s Ambassador for Religious Freedom, Andrew Bennett. The talk was moderated by author and broadcaster Ziauddin Sardar and did not shy away from some of the more complex questions around the issue of minority rights and dilemmas between freedom of speech and religion.

Code-breaker honoured

Bill Tutte, one of the unsung heroes of the Bletchley Park code-breakers who emigrated to Canada after WWII, is to be honoured with a memorial in his hometown of Newmarket in Suffolk. Mr Tutte, a recipient of the Order of Canada, died in 2002 after a distinguished career as a mathematician. Organizers are also hoping to establish a scholarship in Mr Tutte’s name to help promote the study of math and computer science.

Bookfest success

Canada House enjoyed a great day alongside the Get London Reading festival in Trafalgar Square, giving away 500 Canadian children’s books to kids of all ages. Author Jeff Norton joined in the fun, signing copies of his new Metawars book, which critics have praised for its ability to hook reluctant young readers from the very beginning.


The captain of HMCS TORONTO, Commander Jeff Hamilton, and members of his crew were in London last week to brief international law enforcement agencies on the tactics and procedures they used in a huge drug bust recently. HMCS TORONTO has been in the Arabian Gulf/Indian Ocean for six months. Although its main aim was counter-terrorism, the crew intercepted six illegal drug shipments, seizing over 1300 kgs of heroin and six tons of hashish.

Puck drop

They needed young hockey players – naturally they came to Canada Plus! Yes, the Haringey Junior Ice Hockey Club, the Hounds, is on the lookout for players aged 5-17 looking to take to the ice at Alexandra Palace in north London. If you know of a young player who might want to play, all the details are on

There’s also an opportunity to join in regular games of ball hockey, with the West London Ball Hockey Club, set up by a Canadian. There are a number of teams around the city for both children and adults. More details can be found here:

Table footie challenge

John Sleeman, of Sleeman Brewery fame, took on any challengers in a table football game last month to draw attention to the August 14 Sleeman Table Football Challenge at the Maple Leaf Tavern in Covent Garden.  The event, which will raise money for Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital, is looking for 20 teams of two with the winning duo walking away with £100 in cash, two cases of Sleeman and the glory of the arena. To book your spot in the tournament contact Natalie at the Maple Leaf on 0207 2402843.

Members of Toronto Mayor’s Cricket  

The High Commissioner welcomed the members of Toronto Mayor’s Cricket to the Official Residence on a very successful journey to London for the Cricket Across the Pond program.

Consular Corner

Canadians traveling into Europe must present a passport valid for at least three months beyond the date of their expected departure from the Schengen area. Before you travel ask your transportation company about its requirements related to passport validity as they may be more stringent than the country's entry rules. It is the sole prerogative of each country/region to determine who is allowed to enter. Canadian consular officials cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet entry requirements. We recommend you contact the embassy/high commission for the country you plan to visit prior to your travel in order to enquire about their entry requirements. Further information can be found at

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

August Events

August - September ¦ New releases
UK ¦ In addition to the good news that three Canadians have been nominated for the Man Booker Prize, look for new novels from D.W. Wilson, Margaret Atwood, Louise Penny and Alison MacLeod.

15 August ¦ Canada House presents Kim Cattrall in conversation with Miriam O’Reilly
London ¦ Currently playing a fading Hollywood legend in Tennessee William’s Sweet Bird of Youth at the Old Vic, Kim Cattrall will discuss the themes of the play with award-winning journalist, Miriam O’Reilly. Kim is best known for her role as Samantha Jones in Sex and the City. Miriam O’Reilly worked at the BBC as a presenter and reporter for over 25 years. In 2010 she won a landmark case against the corporation for ageism, which was seen as a turning point for older women on screen. She’s currently chair of Labour’s Older Women’s Commission. The discussion will be held at Canada House between 12:00 and 2:00 p.m. For a free place at this event (subject to availability) email:

Until 30 September ¦ Inuit Ullumi: Inuit Today
London ¦ Canada House is pleased to present this exciting exhibition of contemporary Inuit art from TD Bank’s collection. The exhibit is free and open to the public in the Canada House Gallery in Trafalgar Square. Open weekdays 11 – 5:45 p.m. Saturdays 12 – 5 p.m. and on Thursdays until 8 p.m.

Planning Ahead

10 – 13 September ¦ Defense and Security Event
Excel Centre, London ¦ DSEI is the world’s largest fully integrated defence and security exhibition that brings together the entire industry to source the latest equipment and systems, develop international relationships, and generate new business opportunities. Some 60 Canadian companies are expected to be represented at this show.

15 September ¦ Terry Fox Run/Walk
Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire ¦ On the 33rd anniversary of Terry Fox’s inspirational Marathon of Hope, the 5km Terry Fox Run/Walk in support of cancer research will once again this year take place on the grounds of the beautiful Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire. Race time is 3pm and anyone interested in taking part can call the hotel on 01252 853 056 or email

1 October ¦ Invest in North America
Guildhall, London ¦ The Canadian High Commission and the US and Mexican Embassies are teaming up to promote investing into North America.  This one-day conference will give attendees the opportunity to hear from experts on the innovative North American marketplace and its competitive advantages. It will allow individuals to learn from companies that have invested in North America, meet with service providers who can give guidance on the nuts and bolts of doing business in North America.  Those interested should register online.

19 October ¦ QS World MBA Tour
London ¦ A chance to meet representatives of some of Canada’s world-leading MBA programmes. You could meet admission directors and alumni to help find the right program and business school for you, as well as attend sessions on application process, scholarships and GMAT preparation.


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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