Editor's Note: The following essay won first place in Gloucester-Southgate Coun. Diane Deans' essay writing contest that asked entrants to write about their vision for Canada over the next 50 years.
When my grandparents visit Ottawa and we pass by the iconic Parliament Building, each and every time they recount how this landmark reminds them of the undeniable opportunity they were given in 1967. Interestingly, especially with recent events, although they came to the United States to study, they chose to live in Canada because of its beauty, its technological advances, and its ability to celebrate diversity. It is through the eyes of my grandparents exactly fifty years ago that I see how far we have come, and now, with my equally eager lenses, how much further we can still go in the next fifty years.
Some of my grandparents’ fondest memories of Canada in 1967 was its fresh air, clean, expansive spaces, and towering trees. Within the last 50 years, Canada has worked very hard on developing renewable energy, reducing pollution and by finding more energy efficient ways of living. By 2067, I hope to see further advancements in renewable energy, and pollution-free electric cars. I also aspire to help my community become litterless, with even more clean green spaces for people to enjoy. I, and other youth in my community, can help make this become true by participating in clean-up initiatives such as ‘Cleaning the Capital’, forming and participating in ‘Environmental Clubs’ at school, and encouraging school boards to include Environmental issues in the curriculum. Even by simply ensuring and teaching young children how to sort waste into the appropriate recycling bins can be a little change that can make a big difference. By these actions, we can contribute to a clean and healthy world for all future generations.
My grandparents came to Canada innately knowing that this country would be on the cutting edge of many technological advancements. Their instincts were correct as they witnessed the inventions and developments of the CanadArm, a prosthetic arm, the IMAX movie system, and the infamous Blackberry smartphone, to name a few. That is, in the past 50 years, we’ve seen great advancements in transportation, communication, health, and safety. As a youth, I can already predict the improvements in technology that will make living in my community even better. New and efficient ways to traverse the city, such as the ‘Confederation Light Rail Line’, would make it an affordable and convenient way to explore my community. I expect to see smartphone apps that will provide transportation, tourism, and community events information at the touch of a screen. I also hope to be part of youth-geared boards and committees to ensure better, more inclusive, and more advanced methods of communication, so that I can get my voice heard in affairs that are happening in my community.
Truly, my grandparents chose Canada for its ability to thrive amongst the diversity of its people. That is what they saw then, and what they have encouraged and participated in over the last fifty years. I want to follow in their footsteps and continue to promote multiculturalism and racial equality. It was a policy Pierre Elliott Trudeau declared, and now fifty years later under the leadership of his son, a way of life for me within my community. In the next 50 years, I hope to see more community buildings and programs where people can share and learn about each other’s cultures. I see the importance of storytelling, cultural awareness groups in schools, and support for new Canadians as they arrive to our city. Volunteering to help immigrants settle, support and assisting at food banks, being part of new cultural programs through the community and in school are all ways youth can continue to enjoy our multicultural city and nation.
When I visit our beloved Parliament building in 2067, I hope to put my arm around my grandchildren and reflect on how life was in 2017 and how I was part of the growth and development that they are living at that time. I hope through the life I have led in the city that I call ‘home’, my children and grandchildren will embody the love of the environment, the quest for progress, and the passion for diversity that my grandparents saw so many years before.