An Introduction to
Visual Art, Literature,
Performing Arts, Sport and
Canada is so large and its people are so diverse
that it is not always easy to define Canada’s
identity. There are many factors that influence the
concept of national identity.
► Landscape features and climate
► Community, province, and region
► Language, culture, and ethnic background
► Friends, leaders, politicians, and heroes
► Type of government
Artists Reflect Canadian Identity
First Nations and Inuit
They use a variety of art forms (or media) to represent
various aspects of their culture and beliefs. Some are
traditional, and some are modern.
► West Coast peoples use wood to make masks and totem poles.
► Inuit carve stone, antler, and bone.
► The Innu do beadwork and use painted patterns to decorate
► The Anishinabe make petroforms, boulders that are arranged on the
► Mi’kmaq peoples paint and embroider on birchbark.
► Maliseet peoples are skilled porcupine quillworkers.
First Nations and Inuit Art
► The Inukshuk is the symbol of the Canadian Arctic. It is a
stone structure Inuit built to resemble a human. They
were messages used for other travellers, for marking good
hunting or fishing spots, and for showing where supplies
of food were stored. They have become popular symbols
New France British North America
During the 1500s and 1600s, priests During the 1700s, citizens would
were sent to Canada from France to pay artists to paint pictures of their
paint primarily churches. The families or themselves.
paintings were used to beautify the
Military officers were trained to do
churches and to spread the
topographic drawings – drawings
message of Christianity.
that showed the landscape
features. The army wanted to
know the geographic details of
the land to help it make its
They are often called documentary
Figure 1.4, p.6
Canada’s Natural Beauty
Many paintings were created just
because of the sheer natural beauty
of our landscape.
Other times, artists captured the life
of the people who lived and worked
Frances Ann Hopkins, circa 1869
“The Voyageurs during the Fur Trade”
“A Meeting of the School Trustees”
Robert Harris, 1885
New People, New Paintings
As more immigrants came to Canada
during the 1800’s, new artists
emerged. They painted landscape as
well as people.
“View of Sillery from the Plains of Abraham”
by Joseph-Charles Franchère, 1895
“The Habitat’s Home” by Cornelius Krieghoff, 1870
“A Summer Morning” by William Brymner,
Into the Twentieth Century The original group was:
In the early 1900’s, Canadians’ sense of A.Y. Jackson, Fred Varley, Lawren
pride and devotion to their country was Harris, Barker Firley, Frank
strong. Johnston, Arthur Lismer and J.E.H.
A group of artists named “The Group of
Seven” became very popular for their Tom Thompson joined the small
distinctive way of painting Canada’s circle but died before the group was
landscapes. These artists became formally organized.
“Falls, Montreal River”, 1920 JEH MacDonald “Above Lake Superior”, 1922, L. Harris
“Red Maple”, 1914, AY Jackson “The Guides Home, Algonquin”, 1914, A.Lismer
Modern Canadian Artists
Modern artists from the late 1900s into
2000 are painters, sculptors, architects,
and other visual artists.
They include: Emily Carr
Maud Lewis Shawn Skier
Alan Syliboy Douglas Cardinal
Denise Comeau Jack Humphrey
Shirley Bear Alex Colville
Museum of Civilization, Hull
The Crowned Woman
by Shawn Skeir
Emily Carr Historica Minute
Writers Reflect Canadian
Canadian literature covers all literary genres as writers tell
stories, recount events, persuade, explain, report, and
Ballads Modern Storytelling
Ballads are a popular poetic form of Writers often include their own
narrative writing used to tell a story. personal experiences and beliefs into
They are often based on true events their writing. They can be politically
but the truth is stretched to make it charged, emotional, or persuasive.
more interesting. Many ballads have
Reach out & Touch by Maxine Tynes
become songs. Baby girl, baby boy behind me on the bus
The Cremation of Sam McGee And touch the curly electric of my hair
Your fingers dipped in the
Brown skin magic of my neck
To see if it comes off
Slapping hands away
Hush-up of your questions
And wondering outloud why it doesn’t come off
I turn and smile for you
But you’re already lost
In the silence and the fear that motherlove wraps you in
I should have sat beside you
Snugged my big warm self up close
Held you while your mama juggled parcels
Then you would know it’s OK
Musicians Reflect Canadian Identity
The identity of a nation and its culture is often expressed
through the music and lyrical content that its people
produce. There are many proud Canadian musicians.
Some of these artists have strong Canadian content
within their songs that express Canadian identity. Other
musicians have music that is more generic.
Genre refers to the “type” of music. There are many
genres of music. How many more can you name?
Rock Rap Country Pop Classical Jazz R&B
List of Canadian musicians and bands
► It stands for the Canadian Radio-Television
Communications Commission and was created in 1979 –
before that it was called the Board of Broadcast
► Over the years, many Canadian singer/songwriters felt
they had to leave Canada to be successful.
► As early as 1929, the Canadian government felt that
Canadian radio stations should contain Canadian content.
► In 1958, the federal government passed the Broadcasting
Act-which was meant to ensure that Canadian radio was
“basically Canadian in content and character”.
► In 1968, this Act was expanded to include television and
► Basically,the CRTC is designed to protect
and promote Canadian culture, and to
ensure that Canadians are offered
information and entertainment from a
Canadian point of view.
► This means that radio and television
stations have to devote a specific amount of
time each day to Canadian performers.
Wheat Kings Lyrics
Artist: The Tragically Hip
Album: Fully Completely
sundown in the paris of the prairies wheat kings have all
their treasures buried and all you hear are the rusty
around the weather vane jesus
in his zippo lighter, he sees the killer's face maybe it's
someone standing in a killer's place twenty years for
nothing, well that's
nothing new, besides, no one's interested in something
you didn't do wheat kings and pretty things, let's just see
there's a dream where the high school is dead and stark
tt's a museum and we're all locked up in it after dark
where the walls
are lined all yellow, grey and sinister hung with pictures of
our parents' prime ministers wheat kings and pretty things,
see what tomorrow brings
late-breaking story on the cbc, a nation whispers, "we
always knew that he'd go free" yhey add, "you can't be
fond of living in
the past, cause if you are then there's no way that you're
gonna last" wheat kings and pretty things let's just see
brings wheat kings and pretty things, that's what tomorrow
Yo, Let's take it back to the Maritimes Man You cant take yourself too
serious Do that thing you guys were doing Fill your cup up and
chug Roll a Joint up and get ---------- Ready for a kitchen party
Welcome to the Maritimes [x2] I'm from the East Coast of Canada,
home of the bag pipe Known for the fiddle players, beer and our
keg price Known for Alexander Keiths and the Donair Home of the
Mooseheads but I don't really go there We pay a buck for a litre of
gas and Smokes cost $10 a pack and We always mix our tobacco
with weed, its just the way we always done it, shit is natural to
me So let me tackle the beat and unravel the scene Let you
people know what you never travel to see We got battle MC's, we
got storytellers And we got awful MC's and corny -------------- We
got everything you wanna hear Conscious to Back pack,
Commercial to Gangsta R&B to Abstract, grunge to Rock, Classical
to Country So many artist workin' but no one making money
Welcome to the East Coast, home of the innocence Still Piegon
Holed, as a farm or a fisher man No major league teams, baseball
or hockey No urban radio, just country and pop beats I'm trying to
shake these stereotypes So give me space please, let me air out
my life I don't even eat fish, shit I never tried lobster Cant play
the fiddle, and never was a logger But I swam in clean lakes, and
enjoyed cool breezes But Halifax Harbour's like swimming in
diseases We only known for Anne of Green Gables, Coal mines,
The Bluenose and P.E.I potatoes The Maritimes, its better then
that We livin' in the nether times so dead it with that We got
universal soul and buck 65 and The whole CTG and of course
Classified We got back burner, good night, alpha flight, Lock
Down Mic Boyd, first word, tro biz and hell town And a million
other artists, trying to get there flow heard And Let you know that
we still workin' on these outskirts We trying to blow like Halifax
Explosion Or maybe Anne Murray I know she's Nova Scotian Or
Hurricane Juan blowin from the ocean Either way it goes I'm still
reppin for my coast man [Chorus] That's how we do it down here
Least that's how you think we do it down here We all pile in the
kitchen Do it like this [Chorus] Welcome to the Maritimes
The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
Of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee
The Wreck of Edmund
The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead
When the skies of November turn gloomy.
With a load of iron ore - 26,000 tons more
Than the Edmund Fitzgerald weighed empty
By Gordon Lightfoot
That good ship and true was a bone to be chewed
When the gales of November came early
The ship was the pride of the American side The Captain wired in he had water coming in
Coming back from some mill in Wisconson And the good ship and crew was in peril
As the big freighters go it was bigger than most And later that night when his lights went out of sight
With a crew and the Captain well seasoned. Came the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.
Concluding some terms with a couple of steel firms Does anyone know where the love of God goes
When they left fully loaded for Cleveland When the words turn the minutes to hours
And later that night when the ships bell rang The searchers all say they'd have made Whitefish Bay
Could it be the North Wind they'd been feeling. If they'd fifteen more miles behind her.
The wind in the wires made a tattletale sound They might have split up or they might have capsized
And a wave broke over the railing They may have broke deep and took water
And every man knew, as the Captain did, too, And all that remains is the faces and the names
T'was the witch of November come stealing. Of the wives and the sons and the daughters.
The dawn came late and the breakfast had to wait Lake Huron rolls, Superior sings
When the gales of November came slashing In the ruins of her ice water mansion
When afternoon came it was freezing rain Old Michigan steams like a young man's dreams,
In the face of a hurricane West Wind The islands and bays are for sportsmen.
When supper time came the old cook came on deck
Saying fellows it's too rough to feed ya
And farther below Lake Ontario
Takes in what Lake Erie can send her
At 7PM a main hatchway caved in
He said fellas it's been good to know ya.
And the iron boats go as the mariners all know
With the gales of November remembered.
In a musty old hall in Detroit they prayed
In the Maritime Sailors' Cathedral
The church bell chimed, 'til it rang 29 times
For each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald.
The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
Of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee
Superior, they say, never gives up her dead
When the gales of November come early.
The Toronto Song
By The Arrogant Worms
I hate the skydome and the CN tower too,
I hate Nathan Phillip's square and the Ontario Zoo,
The rent's too high, the air's unclean,
The beaches are dirty and the people are mean,
And the women are big and the men are dumb,
And the children are loopy cuz they live in a slum!
The water is polluted and their mayor's a dork,
They dress real bad and they think they're New York,
In Toronto, Ontario-o-o
-Ya know actually I, I think I pretty much hate all of Ontario-
(Oh yeah, me too!)
I hate Thunder Bay and Ottawa, Kitchener, Windsor and Oshawa
London sucks and the Great Lakes suck and Sarnia sucks and Turkey
I took a trip to Ontario to visit Brian Mulruney,
He beat me up and he stole my pants and he put me in a tree,
I went to see the Maple-Leafs and got hit in the head with a puck,
(Ah, I-I don't evenknow how they did it really, I mean I was playing
the organ at the time!)
Yep, actually now that I think about it,
I think I pretty much hate every gosh darn province and territory in
Oh yeah-except Alberta! Oh yeah, I love Alberta, Yeah it's really
nice, lots of cows, and trees, and rocks and dirt!
(moo moo moo)
I hate Newfoundland cuz they talk so wierd, and Prince Edward
Island is-Too Small,
Nova Scotia's dumb cuz it's the name of a bank, New Bruinswick
doesn't have a good mall!
Quebec is revolting and it makes me mad, Ontario Sucks, Ontario
(Manitoba's population density is 1.9 people per square kilometre,
Isn't that stupid!)
Saskatchewan is boring and the people are old,
And as for the territories,( they're too cold!)
And the only really good tehing about the province of British
Columbia is that
it's right next to us Cause Alberta doesn’t suck but Calgary does.
► Performing Artists reflect Canadian Identity
While music tends to dominate, Canadians
use many other forms of artistic expression
to talk about themselves and their country.
Canada is full of actors, both stage and
screen, dancers, comedians, and spoken
► Canada has produced some of the best
comedic actors of the 80’s and 90’s,
► As well as some serious actors :
► However, many Canadian actors move to
the United States to produce and star in
► Luckilythere is a growing Canadian film
industry here at home producing some
► Canada is also home to many comedians,
both stand up and sketch.
► Second City Toronto was one of the most
popular improv / sketch troupes of its time.
► CODCO and Kids in the Hall were long
running sketch shows on CBC.
► Picnicface is a new comedy troupe based in
► Popular current stand up comedians include
► Gerry Dee
► Russell Peters
► Mary Walsh
► Rick Mercer
► Althoughthere are many others, both
present and past.
Bowser and Blue
► Other types of performing arts include:
There are also many Canadians who work in design
and directing who are not front and centre, but who
have the power to imbue Canadian Identity into their
► Athletes Reflect Canadian Identity
Canada is known worldwide for its hockey
players. Canada is home to some of the
greatest hockey players ever and we export
players all over the world, spreading what it
means to be Canadian.
Besides hockey, Canada is known in other
sports as well.
► Canada has become a growing force in
baseball as well.
► And basketball.
one point, Canada had the world’s fastest
► Canadianshave done particularly well at
both the Summer and Winter Olympics.
► There are many Canadians playing and
coaching in many sports all around the
► TheCanadian work ethic has travelled the
globe and has an influence worldwide.
► Canada may be a small country, but our
influence and impact spread all over the
► CanadianIdentity is broad, but when
Canadians travel the world, people know
who they are.