It’s become something of a truism (certainly among Canadians) that the world needs more Canada. But sometimes, and particularly during trying times, even Canada needs more Canada.
That was the basis of #CanadaTogether, a celebration of the country’s frontline workers that started shortly after the lockdown period began and was updated weekly as the pandemic progressed and kept Canadians mostly confined to our homes.
The idea started with a kitchen conversation between Disruptincy founder Geoffrey Roche and his wife Marie Claire, expressing their admiration for what had become a nightly ritual of people banging together pots and pans to honour medical and other frontline workers.
It was a wonderful display of gratitude, they said, but wondered if there might be a way for people across the country to show their appreciation. It was Marie Clare who proposed the idea: What if we could get people from all across Canada—young, old, horribly off-key, didn’t matter—to sing O’Canada each Sunday at noon, and have them submit a video of their performance?
Originally conceived as #ThanksOhCanada, the idea went from conception to reality in just five days. It received an additional boost from Corus Entertainment, which in addition to providing a weekly broadcast platform for the videos, also put forward some of its on-air talent.
The videos were created by an ad hoc partnership comprised of editor Chris Van Dyke and a team of video editors at Rooster Editing (Michelle Czukar, Christina Humphries, Marc Langley and Melissa Kahn) with Ted Rosnick for sound mixing, all of whom volunteered their time.
They included themed videos, including an all-instrumental version, one for Mother’s Day, and a particularly emotive version featuring the Ottawa Bach Choir. Roche, meanwhile, worked his contacts to bring aboard a little star power including astronaut Chris Hadfield (and his pug) and The Three Tenors.
CanadaTogether received more than 600 video submissions through e-mail and social media, while the resulting seven videos have amassed nearly one million views on social channels. The program has garnered more than 1,600 Facebook fans, close to 1,000 Twitter followers and more than 1,000 followers on Instagram.
“We were proud of what we were able to accomplish in such a short period of time,” says Roche. “Just like the spirit of the videos, the spirit of #CanadaTogether was one of collaboration, passion, and love for Canada and everyone who lives here.”
Some might say it’s glorious. It’s certainly free.
Happy Canada Day.