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It’s such an easy question to ask and it is indeed frequently posed.

The answer, however, is ever evolving and elusive.

Now, it is a question again in the spotlight as Canada enters its 150th year – What does it mean to be Canadian ?

One can see the question be asked in a number of settings and in various ways. It is one that will underpin our Journeys into Canada-150 as we explore Canada’s offbeat, off the beaten path, overlooked and forgotten.

We look forward to addressing this question during the course of the next year – especially the idea of what it means to be Canadian in the face of the dizzying world events elsewhere over the past few months.

For now we start by looking at a Project Canada report that drew upon responses to the question asking Canadians living in the fourteen capital regions how they would like to celebrate and mark Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017.

After receiving a grant from Canadian Heritage, an effort was made to reach 5,000 Canadians in the various capital regions and ask them a few questions. Using Facebook, Twitter, website blogs, Kijiji, standard media such as CBC and paper press, advertising, paper surveys and Survey Monkey (an online survey method), a public relations firm, and word-of-mouth, more than 17,685 people were reached, questioned, and/or spoken with.

Responses ranged from: “make Canada Day bigger, better, longer”;“150 minutes of fireworks”; “this is way too early”; “this is almost too late”; “don’t re-invent the wheel; to “let’s have a canoe relay across Canada”; “let’s have a national garden festival”; and “let’s honour our veterans, military, and RCMP” and encourage all Canadians to visit their country, invite the world and have a contest to name the 150 most influential Canadians.

Said the report: Canadians want to do more than just quietly wave flags and sing O Canada on July 1st 2017. They want to have big parties with fireworks and birthday cake; to applaud our artists, our musicians, our writers, our dancers, and our workers; to encourage our young people to see the rest of the country and understand other Canadians; to reflect on our losses and celebrate our successes; to remember those who have gone before and to plan for those who will come after; to thank our national and everyday heroes; and to invest in our country by taking care of our youth, our seniors, our First Nations, our newcomers, and our disadvantaged.

During the course of the next months, we will be invoking this report to share with the feelings of Canadians about how to celebrate in 2017.

As importantly these responses provide interesting insight as to how Canadians perceive themselves, the fellow Canadians and their nation.

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