A national physical activity advocate will receive $5.4 million from the Canadian government to help mark the country’s 150th anniversary next year, according to an announcement made in Saskatoon Wednesday morning.
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The Toronto-based non-profit ParticipACTION will undertake a “150 Play List” project to mark the number of years since Canada became a country. The group will ask the public to help come up with a list of 150 uniquely Canadian activities and challenge citizens to complete as many as possible in 2017.
“As a country we’re just not as physically active as we should be,” said ParticipACTION President and CEO Elio Antunes to reporters after Wednesday’s announcement.
“We thought this was a good opportunity as part of the 150th celebrations to really put a spotlight on this issue.”
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The funds will go towards creating an online platform and conducting more than 100 community events across Canada, to promote the project, according to Antunes.
“It’s a national program that goes to coast-to-coast-to-coast and so we want to be relevant in every community and touch every Canadian.”
The Canadian media company Corus Entertainment will also help champion the project through “everything from PSA’s, commercial inventory, to on the news or radio mentions,” according to Gary Maavara, its executive vice president. Corus owns numbers television and radio stations, including Global.
“Our creative folks are going to be working on a lot of different things to really entice Canadians to start telling us about what is that quintessential Canadian thing that we do that is going to help people get fit,” said Maavara.
“Watching television is important to us, but it’s only part of the day and it doesn’t do us any good at all to have kids in front of the set all the time.”
Engaging the youth is one of the government’s main themes in its vision for next year’s anniversary, according to Heritage Minister Melanie Joly. At Wednesday’s announcement she said activity can bring Canadians together.
“There’s different sports that are linked to our past history, our common history,” said Joly. She and the other dignities took part in a canoe launch at the announcement, demonstrating one potential activity that could mark Canada’s 150th anniversary.