An Introduction to
Social Heroes, Visual Arts,
Literature, Performing Arts,
Sports and Music
► Canada's culture - influenced by European
culture and traditions, especially British and
► A country composed mainly of immigrants
§ Themes and Symbols: pioneers, trappers, and
► Official symbols – maple leaf, beaver, and the
§ Jacques Viger (first mayor of Montreal): "the
king of our forest; ... the symbol of the
§ Louis XIV: sent horses to Canada (late 17th
► in connection with images of red-coated Mounties
► Ethnicgroups: Anglophone 28%,
Francophone 23%, other European 15%,
Asian/Arab/African 6%, indigenous
Amerindian 2%, mixed background 26%
► Languages: English, French
► "Canada" comes from the Huron and
Iroquois word "Kanata" meaning "village"
In 1971, an official policy of multiculturalism was
introduced by Prime Minister Trudeau. The
policy would...“support and encourage the
various cultures and ethnic groups that give
structure and vitality to our society. They will be
encouraged to share their cultural expressions
and values with other Canadians and so
contribute to a richer life for us all.” –House of
Commons (Cranny and Moles 2001, p. 204-205)
Defining Canadian Identity
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
Some of our Social Heroes:
Norman Bethune – “China’s
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
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 A.Y. Jackson, Fred Varley, Lawren
of pride and devotion to their country Harris, Barker Firley, Frank
was 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
Ernest Thompson Seton
Famous and respected Canadian artist,
naturalist and author
Seton helped create the distinct
Canadian literary genre: the realistic
animal story. He spent his boyhood in
Ontario, graduated from the Ontario
College of Arts in 1879 and then studied
at the Royal Academy in England.
He studied art in Paris and was soon in
demand as an illustrator. His most
famous painting, The Sleeping Wolf,
won first prize at the annual
competition held at the Paris Salon.
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
► It stands for the Canadian Radio-Television
► 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, wait and
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
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.
► 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,
► 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 stand up comedians include
► Gerry Dee
► Russell Peters
► Mary Walsh
► Rick Mercer
► Althoughthere are many others, both
present and past.
§ Dan Ackroyd
§ Jon Wing
§ Bowser and Blue
§ Sean Cullen
§ Tom Green
§ Howie Mandel
§ Ron James
► Other types of performing arts include:
§ Live theatre
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
continue to export players all over the world.
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.