Looking back on 150 years as a nation

London, ON, Canada / 106.9 The X

It’s a party 150 years in the making.

Although we’re still quite a ways away from the official birthday of Canada, who became an independent country on July 1st, 1867 parting ways from the British Empire.

However 2017 is the anniversary year, and Museum London is already looking back.

Dr. Amber Lloydlangston is a curator at the museum, and is responsible for its newest exhibit: “Canadian Eh? A History of the Nations Signs and Symbols.”

She says it was far from an easy task to try and sum up a nation in a single room.

“Oh it’s impossible. I tried and divide the room up into categories such as landscape, culture, entertainment and influential people and athletes.”

“We have a few paintings from The Group of Seven on a wall and I wanted to include more but there’s just no space.”

From Jack Canuck to poutine to an old music sheet siting the lyrics to “Maple Leaf Forever,” the exhibition covers all the bases in a confined area.

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Old records featuring the lyrics of “Maple Leaf Forever,” the proposed National Anthem before “O’ Canada” had strong British ties.

Dr. Lloydlangston says there were more than a few moments that pathed the way to Canada becoming the country it is today.

“We could divide it up into categories if we wanted to…for conflict example..the World Wars, the War of 1812 before Canada was independent, the list goes on and on.”

“Our relationship with the United States has always been important..We as a nation had to differentiate from not only the British but also our neighbours. We needed an identity.”

Dr. Lloydlangston says it’s crucial to not let the good moments take away from the bad.

“Our history with the Japanese wasn’t so pretty. Putting them into camps..stripping their possessions then saying good luck.

“We have a history of racism in Canada that we aren’t obviously proud of. There have been apologies in recent years there have been compensation for some families..but racism exists and we need to end it.”

Just as good it is to look back, it’s equally exciting to look forward, particularly in London.

Lia Karidas is part of Canada 150 London’s celebration team. She says there’s no reason to be bored this year in the Forest City.

“We have 65 to 70 events already confirmed..we have a few major surprises we can’t announce yet because they haven’t been confirmed. We plan to announce events day by day instead of all at once.”

“In February Antique Roadshow is coming to London. They haven’t done a show in about five years but they will be here and you can bring in old antiques to have them appraised… especially if they’re from 1867 but they don’t have to be.”

Karidas says the biggest celebration will obviously take place on Canada Day, and it will be a little different this year.

“We’re planning to operate on sort of a passport system. What that means is you’d be able to travel across London to our 10 locations that’s different everywhere, and it allows you to see parts of London you might not normally come to.”

“There’s certainly lots going on…there’s no reason to not explore London this year to celebrate Canada.”

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