Adventure Canada is celebrating this year—celebrating many things, in fact. We are celebrating our own thirtieth anniversary as a company; we’re celebrating anniversaries of our partners, the World Wildlife Fund (fifty years), as well as Nikon (one hundred years) and—perhaps most importantly—we are celebrating 150 years of Canadian Confederation.
That last one, of course, is being observed across the country. (Though the year of Confederation depends on the province—for our friends in Newfoundland & Labrador, to give just one example, it was 1949, not 1867!)
Many of us will be spending July 1, Canada Day aboard the Ocean Endeavour in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, where so many currents meet and swirl together. A voyage by sea is an apt metaphor for the national project: Sometimes the waters are smooth; sometimes, stormy, but we journey together on the tides of history.
The Canadian story is complicated, and in choosing to celebrate it, we acknowledge its complexity—and its imperfections. While we celebrate diversity, we recognize that Canada does not work well for everyone. While we celebrate democracy, we recognize that not everyone has equal influence, equal power, or equal privilege. While we celebrate our many cultures, we acknowledge that power and opportunity are not equitably distributed among them. While we celebrate the natural world, we acknowledge that the environment is under constant threat.
Importantly, we acknowledge that Canada only exists as a nation, in both law, and history, because of Indigenous peoples. We acknowledge and affirm the principles of self-determination and the sovereignty of those nations with whom Canada has entered into treaties and land claims, and those whose territorial and claims are pending or unceded. We recognize that these relationships are formative, and binding, and as much a part of the rights and obligations of our nation as the British North America Act, the Constitution, and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
For Adventure Canada, this year of celebration is also an opportunity for reflection. How can we be better partners with the First Peoples, in whose traditional territories we live, work, and travel? How can we support local economies sustainably, create more opportunities for cultural engagement, and be better stewards of the natural world together?
All these questions add up to one thing: how can we be better Canadians? In 2017, more than ever, we have the opportunity to ask, and to listen.
We think that’s something to celebrate—and we hope you’ll celebrate with us!