by Roger Stonebanks, citizen reporter
Angelo Khoshaba, an Assyrian Christian who moved from Iraq to Italy in 1977 and to Canada in 1980, and his daughter, Alexis, who was born in Vancouver in 1994, will launch a grassroots movement locally with the goal of expanding it across Canada.
“Our hope is that Canadians will take photos in beautiful and interesting settings, add all sorts of elements to the postings, make them engaging and fun, yet profound and nation-building,” they said.
They listed “some of the things Canadians take for granted” – including politeness, safety, legal rights, freedom of belief or opinion, cultural diversity, affordable accessible healthcare – actually 50 items and “Not to boast, but wish we had more space, eh!”.
People are being encouraged to reflect on something they are grateful for in Canada and think of ways to give back. For example, make a sign, take a selfie, photo or video, post it on social media platforms. “Think of ways to give back,” they said.
In an interview with Saanich Voice Online at his home, Khoshaba, a businessman who owned a restaurant in Vancouver before moving to Victoria, said what he and Alexis want to create “a gratitude movement.” They will have a website to spread the word.
“The whole idea is – to give back,” he said. “This is not about us but what anyone, everyone, has to offer.”
Meanwhile, in Saanich, council has agreed to a budget of $40,600 for “Events and Activities” for Canada 150 celebrations that will include a themed outdoor public art project.
Coun. Vicki Sanders is the contact person at Saanich. A communications plan is under way and a Canada 150 contact email may be created. “We want to hear from people with their ideas,” she told Saanich Voice Online. “We won’t be doing peoples’ projects but as ambassadors we will provide information and look to partnerships.”
Coun. Sanders said the existing 15 to 18 events that take place annually in Saanich will be enhanced with a Canada 150 theme. “Saanich will be installing banners in the municipal precinct. We would like to see businesses/malls join in and create a theme across Saanich.”
She said a working group will be “ambassadors” to spread the word and encourage everyone to celebrate in some way. “That could be as simple as a neighbourhood block party to an event that will attract a large gathering,” she said. “Legacy projects have been approved including a public art piece, a time capsule and creating a temporary art program in Saanich. The word will be spread via Saanich’s website, Victoria’s Canada 150 website and by posting to the national social media.”
Canada 150 celebrations kicked off nationally with fireworks at midnight eastern time as we approached 2017 – which was 9pm New Year’s Eve in Victoria with fireworks, live light displays, music and activities at the Inner Harbour.