connect . exchange . discover.|créez des liens. échangez. découvrez.

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Communities in Focus/Communautés sous la loupe: African Canadian Heritage Association and Gitlaxtaamiks Village Government (Toronto, ON)


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On a hot and muggy summer’s day in Toronto, a large group of 12-17 year olds gathered in front of the iconic MuchMusic building at Queen and John streets. On seeing them hanging out on the street, one might think that they were lining up to see one of their favourite musicians or bands give a performance or interview for a tv show. However, this was only the beginning of a week-long cultural exchange between the youth representing two cities, two walks of life, two different views of Canada and the start of the sharing of all of those experiences.

The African Canadian Heritage Association of Toronto, ON and the Gitlaxtaamiks Village Government of New Ayanish, BC, represented by 35 vibrant, creative and interesting youth from all walks of life, aimed to explore the differences and similarities  between their respective cultures during their exchange.  Because both groups also represented two distinct aspects of Canada’s cultural mosaic–one being of African-Canadian heritage and the other being of the Nisga’a Nation–this exchange was special, in that it explored how two cultures could be so different, yet so similar and Canadian.

Since the ACHA played host in Toronto, one of the main goals was to showcase and learn about the contributions of African-Canadians to Canada’s past, present and future, which both groups did in many unique ways. During our visit with the groups, we attended a science presentation (featuring the accomplishments of African-Canadian and First Nations science pioneers) and a poetry workshop at the youth-run Children’s Peace Theatre in Scarborough (a Toronto suburb). There was an overpowering sense of community, discovery and wonder as the group learned new things about African-Canadian culture, the city of Toronto, and about their common interests



C’était une journée chaude et humide à Toronto quand un grand groupe de jeunes se sont assemblés devant l’édifice iconique de MuchMusic aux rues Queen et John.  À les regarder, on pourrait croire qu’ils faisaient la queue à voir un concert ou un interview d’un de leurs musiciens favoris.  Pourtant, ces jeunes-là commençaient leur échange culturel—une  semaine d’un échange des jeunes de deux communautés différentes, deux types de vies différentes, deux points de vue différents du Canada—et ils commençaient à partager ces expériences.

L’Association du Patrimoine Africain Canadien (ACHA) de Toronto, ON et le Gouvernement du Village Gitlaxtaamiks de New Ayanish, C-B, se composaient de 35 jeunes vibrants, créatifs et intéressants, des tous des parcours de vie et ils avaient l’objectif durant leur échange d’explorer les différences et les similitudes des deux groupes et des deux cultures.  Puisque les deux groupes représentent deux aspects distincts du mosaïque culturel de Canada—un groupe issu d’un patrimoine Africain-Canadien et l’autre de la Nation Nisga’a—cet échange était spécial étant donné que c’était une exploration de deux cultures si différentes et pourtant si semblables et canadiennes.

Comme l’AHCA accueillaient les autres  à Toronto de la Colombie-Britannique, un des buts principaux, que les deux groupes ont bien réalisé, était à présenter et apprendre des contributions des Africains-Canadiens aux passé et présent du Canada et à l’avenir.  Pendant notre visite aux groupes, on a assisté une présentation de science (qui a mis en avant les aboutissements des pionniers de science des Africains-Canadiens et des autochtones) et un atelier de la poésie, dirigé par les jeunes, au Théâtre de la Paix des Enfants à Scarborough (une banlieue de Toronto).  Il y avait un sentiment écrasant de communauté, découverte et émerveillement tandis que les groupes apprenaient des nouvelles choses de la culture africaine-canadienne, de la ville de Toronto et de leurs intérêts partagés.

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Heroes of History: Nichola Goddard | Heros de l’histoire: Nichola Goddard

Nichola Goddard. (source: CBC News)

Nichola Goddard. (source: CBC News)

8 years ago, Canada learned about a solider who was like many of us, living an ordinary life, until they died under extraordinary circumstances while at war. The soldier has also made a couple of historic firsts during their time in battle: the first artillery officer to call in support fire on an enemy since the Korean War (1950-1953), the first female combat soldier to lead Canadian soldiers into combat–and the first female combat soldier to lose her life to enemy fire.

Nichola Goddard was born in 1980 in Madang, Papua New Guinea, where her parents were teaching at the time. Once the family returned home to Canada, the Goddards lived in many parts of the country, from Lac la Ronge, Saskatchewan, to Antigonish, Nova Scotia, where Nichola went to high school. She loved to participate in many sports activities, like cross country, skiing and running, even competing in many biathlon events. When she joined the Canadian Armed Forces, serving in Princess Patricia’s Light Infantry, her goal was always to help others overseas.

Valour Canada writes of the day that Goddard lost her life in battle in Afghanistan:

Captain Goddard performed with distinction throughout that day, her calm and collected voice coolly calling out coordinates for her regiment’s 155mm artillery pieces and the American Apache helicopters overhead. Her reassuring presence, though sensed by most only via the radio, and unique role as the only forward observation officer in the area, no doubt played a large role in ensuring her troops’ confident performance. By the evening of the 17th, the Canadian and ANA forces had succeeded in checking the Taliban insurgents, killing forty and capturing twenty with the only casualties being an ANA soldier…and Captain Nichola Goddard.  

Once Canada learned of her death, tributes came pouring in from across the country to her parents and 2 sisters. Since Nichola died in 2006, a few prominent things have been done, both by her family and from various individuals and organizations across the country, to commemorate her service to Canada while in Afghanistan:

-The Canadian Forces awarded Goddard (posthumously) the Meritorious Service Medal and the Sacrifice Medal;

-One of 9 new Mid-shore Patrol Vessels of the Canadian Forces is named after Goddard in her memory– the CGCS Captain Goddard M.S.M;

-In Calgary, Alberta, a school has been named after Goddard (Captain Nichola Goddard School);

-The Trews, a Canadian rock band whose members attended high school with Goddard, wrote a song dedicated to her in 2010 called Highway of Heroes.

Nichola Goddard is a Hero of History, not because she accomplished many firsts in her death, but because she was just like us, exploring and discovering Canada (and the world) while learning and helping others.

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My SWSE Summer Experience: Jao (Second Go)| Mon experience EEEE: Jao (Deuxième chance)

As every milestone in your life, you would always be excited to do it all over again! This summer, I had this very opportunity by becoming the Local Coordinator of the Langley, BC community for SWSE 2014. Two years ago, I was a 17-year-old student heading to Laval, Quebec and now I had another chance for a second go! The summer has been a blast in every way and I wish that it could last longer. Being a coordinator opposed to a participant changed a lot of aspects of the exchange but I can confidently say that this time was as remarkable as the first.

I received 10 beautiful students from St-Jean, Boisbriand and St-Eustache, all small towns in the province of Quebec. These 10 people were what made the summer particularly amazing for me. The past 6 weeks were filled with memories, challenges and many inside jokes. My personal favourite memory was our Dragon Boating activity in Fort Langley. For many different reasons, this event allowed us to discover the community and build friendships. As one of our first activities, it was a good chance to build teamwork as one community and as one dragon boat. None of us had tried dragon boating before and it was awesome to see my students putting themselves out there! As a bonus, we visited the area of Fort Langley itself. With all its eccentric and old-fashioned beauty, the neighbourhood showed another side of the city. We dined at the famous Java’s 50 Café in the heart of downtown Fort Langley. My students enjoyed the lively atmosphere, decor, and creamy milkshakes.

With the program now at its end, I want to send a small message to my students.I hope that you have had the summer of a lifetime. Keep our memories and friendships together with you forever. Live life trying to achieve whatever you want, and know that I will be supporting you every step of the way. À la prochaine!



Comme pour chaque étape importante de sa vie, on est très excité à l’idée de devoir le faire de nouveau! Cet été, j’ai eu la possibilité de devenir le coordonnateur local à Langley pour le programme Emploi d’été Échanges étudiants de 2014. Il y a deux ans, j’étais un étudiant qui se dirigeait à Laval (Québec) et maintenant, voilà qu’une deuxième chance se présente à moi! L’été a vraiment été génial dans tous les sens du terme et j’aurais aimé qu’il dure plus longtemps. Être un coordonnateur et non un participant a changé de nombreux aspects de l’échange, mais je peux dire en toute honnêteté que cette expérience a été aussi remarquable que la première.

J’étais le coordonnateur pour le groupe de Langley (C.-B.) cette année. J’ai reçu 10 beaux étudiants de Saint-Jean, Boisbriand et Saint-Eustache. C’est grâce à ces 10 personnes que l’été a été particulièrement génial. Les 6 dernières semaines ont été remplies de souvenirs, de défis et de nombreuses blagues d’initiés. Selon moi, mon souvenir préféré était notre activité sur des bateaux-dragons à Fort Langley. Pour de nombreuses raisons différentes, cet événement nous a permis de découvrir la communauté et de créer des amitiés. Il s’agissait d’une de nos premières activités et d’une bonne occasion de travailler en équipe en tant que communauté à bord d’un bateau-dragon. Aucun d’entre nous n’avait essayé le bateau-dragon auparavant et c’était formidable de voir mes étudiants jouer le jeu! Nous avons visité la région de Fort Langley en guise de récompense. La beauté excentrique et démodée du quartier nous a permis de voir une autre facette de la ville. Nous avons soupé au fameux Java’s 50 Café au cœur du centre-ville de Fort Langley. Mes étudiants ont beaucoup aimé l’atmosphère dynamique, le décor et les laits frappés crémeux.

Le programme touche maintenant à sa fin et j’aimerais envoyer un petit message à mes étudiants. Pour conclure, j’espère que vous avez passé le meilleur été de votre vie. Conservez les souvenirs et les amitiés que nous avons créées ensemble jusqu’à la fin de votre vie. Vivez votre vie en essayant d’accomplir ce que vous souhaitez et sachez que je vous soutiendrai tout le temps. À la prochaine!