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Kicking off Canada’s 150th birthday celebration at U of T

Canada celebrates its 150th anniversary on July 1st – and to mark the sesquicentennial, the University of Toronto is hosting a wide range of  initiatives and festivities throughout the year. 

Members of the U of T community will be joining in the country-wide conversation and leading discussion on Canada’s history, present and future, said Donald Ainslie, principal of University College and chair of the Sesquicentennial Steering Committee.

As part of this dialogue, the University is hosting a range of conferences, workshops, panels and guest speakers. Many of these projects were funded by the Canada 150 Student Fund @UofT and Canada’s Sesquicentennial Initiative Fund. The U of T Scarborough Canada150 Fund is still accepting submissions until Friday, January 13, 2017.

“The excitement in building across Canada and U of T is no different,” Ainslie said. “The applications for the U of T funds demonstrated how the university can offer an intellectual lens through which to view the national celebrations.

“Students and faculty from across the disciplines – from the arts and literature to medicine and engineering – will be investigating Canada’s unique place in the world in exciting projects on all three campuses.” 

All of the funded projects can be found on U of T’s Canada 150 website.

2017 also marks the University of Toronto’s 190th birthday.

“Canada 150 is a great opportunity to raise awareness of the leadership of our students, alumni, faculty and staff in the history of our country,” said President Meric Gertler. “At the same time, through both celebration and critical reflection, members of the U of T community will help inspire and inform our fellow Canadians in charting a course for our future.”

Kent Monkman’s exhibition, Shame and Prejudice: A Story of Resilience, is one of the first projects of the year. Monkman looks back through Canada’s history from present day to a 150 years before Confederation, with entry points in the harsh urban environment of Winnipeg’s north end and contemporary life on the reserve. His exhibit is being held at the UTAC Gallery in U of T’s Art Museum from January 26th until March 4th, with a public lecture and curatorial tour on February 1st and February 4th respectively. 

“The Monkman exhibition is the perfect start for U of T’s sesquicentennial activities, in that it links Canada’s birthday to the theme of truth and reconciliation, which has been the focus of national and campus dialogues over the past few years,” said Ainslie. 

U of T’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Steering Committee is examining the university’s own relationship with Canada’s Indigenous peoples. In a report set for release on January 13th, the Steering Committee will make recommendations about how best to move forward in addressing the Calls to Action issued by the TRC. 

For more information on the university’s involvement in the sesquicentennial, a dedicated website has been created to showcase the history of U of T and Canada over the past 150 years, including stories about individuals and events that helped shape the university and the country.

January 02, 2017