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From polar bears to Trudeau: Youth paint what Canada means to them

150+ Reasons We Love Canada mural project depicts what young people love about the country as we celebrate 150 years anniversary.

VIBE Arts executive director Julie Frost is leading a mural project where kids explain why they love Canada.

Liz Beddall / Metro

VIBE Arts executive director Julie Frost is leading a mural project where kids explain why they love Canada.

Ask kids why they love Canada and the answers may surprise you.

From polar bears and the Great Lakes to Justin Trudeau and the women’s national soccer team, young people from across the country are voicing their views about what Canada means for them. And they’re being creative about it.

It’s all part of 150+ Reasons We Love Canada, a project that’s engaging Canadian youth aged 10-29 to celebrate the country’s 150th anniversary through beautiful art. Run by the non-profit VIBE Arts, the initiative has reached out to over 500 young people from under-resourced communities in all provinces and territories.

The hand-painted murals will be unveiled to the general public ahead of July 1.

Related:

A mural depicting ice fishing, designed by students at Urban Aboriginal School in Sault Ste. Marie.

Contributed

A mural depicting ice fishing, designed by students at Urban Aboriginal School in Sault Ste. Marie.

“Many of these young people don’t have an opportunity to express their views about national issues,” said VIBE Arts executive director Julie Frost. “We thought it was very important to give them this kind of platform where they’re free to show their artistic talents and say something about the country.”

As part of the project, the artistic charity teamed up with professional artists to run workshops in schools, shelters, public libraries and community centres in every province. Murals painted by the kids will be displayed for two months in Toronto subway stations and 20 airports across the country, including Pearson International. They’ll also be digitized and showcased at different venues all over the country.

Kids at SEED Alternative School painted Justin Trudeau as one of the reasons they love Canada.

Contributed

Kids at SEED Alternative School painted Justin Trudeau as one of the reasons they love Canada.

Frost said some themes from the project are centred around geography (the Northern Lights, ravines and Maple Leafs), as well as famous and influential people (Justin Trudeau, Drake and athletes). But many submissions also touch on issues of peace, freedom and diversity.

“It really helps build healthy relationships because kids work on these painting projects together,” said Frost.

More on the project:

  • A special mural painting event will take place at VIBE Arts office in Toronto (401 Richmond St. W.) on April 21, starting at noon. The mural will showcase the interpretation of Canadian music.
  • More information on the project can be found at 150reasons.vibearts.ca

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