Canada’s Youth Celebrates Diversity

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The Mathieu Da Costa Challenge 2010 finalized with 13 youth honoured for their creativity in showing how diversity has shaped Canada’s history and the important role that Canadians of diverse backgrounds and origins play in Canadian society. The students are being recognized for their winning essays and artwork.

Of the 13, three winners were chosen for the Mathieu Da Costa Parks Canada Award, through a partnership with Parks Canada. To be eligible for this award, participants’ entries had to feature the contribution made by a National Historic Person of Aboriginal, African or other background to the building of Canada. A Public Choice Award winner was also chosen by Canadians, who voted for their favourite entry out of 90 semi finalist entries posted online.

Royal Galipeau, Member of Parliament for Ottawa-Orleans, on behalf of the Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, celebrated with the 13 winners.

“Canada’s cultural diversity remains one of our greatest strengths as a nation,” said MP Galipeau. “Through their creative writing and artwork, these young Canadians have met the challenge of promoting inter-cultural understanding and Canadian values.”

This year’s winners were selected from more than 980 entries and include six winners from Ontario, two winners from both Quebec and Nova Scotia, and one winner each from New Brunswick and British Columbia. Winners were selected in three categories (Writing – English, Writing – French and Artwork) in each of three age categories (9-12, 13-15 and 16-18).

Launched in 1996, the Mathieu Da Costa Challenge is an annual creative writing and artwork contest named after the navigator and interpreter of African descent. The challenge encourages young people to use creative writing and art to discover the significant contributions made by Canadians of Aboriginal, African and other diverse backgrounds throughout our history.

Da Costa, believed to have been the first person of African descent to step on Canadian soil, likely travelled extensively throughout the Atlantic world in the late 1500s and early 1600s. As an interpreter between the French explorers and aboriginal people, his work is commemorated at the Port Royal Habitation National Historic Site of Canada in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia.

The winners, accompanied by a parent/guardian, received an all-expenses paid trip to Ottawa where they took part in the ceremony.

Partners of the Mathieu Da Costa Challenge include the Parks Canada Agency, the Historica-Dominion Institute, the Canadian Library Association, and the Capital Hill Hotel and Suites.

Winning entries can be viewed here.

For more information on the Mathieu Da Costa Challenge, please visit www.mathieudacosta.gc.ca.

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