Destination Canada’s newest ad campaign features a song that is very, very… nice

Who: Destination Canada, with songwriting duo Irene Sankoff and David Hein, animation studio Wonderlust, and IPG Mediabrands.

What: “This is Canada Nice,” an original song that embraces the stereotype of Canada being a nice country. It’s brought to life through a 90-second animated ad.

When & Where: The song and ad were released on Dec. 4. The ad is on TV nationally in Canada, and through YouTube and other social channels in Canada and the U.S. “We want to share our inspiring and heartfelt stories of Canada and Canadians to remind travellers of what will be ready to welcome them back when the time comes,” said Destination Canada spokesperson Liz Sperandeo.

Why: At a time of high anxiety, Destination Canada leaned into the cliché about Canadians being nice and reimagined that “niceness” as a larger energy that flows throughout the country. “In a time when the world could use a little more of it, we’re here to welcome you with open arms to discover the true meaning of nice,” is the explanation under the video on YouTube.

“Nice is not one place or thing; it’s a feeling that lives inside every Canadian,” said Gloria Loree, senior vice-president, marketing strategy and chief marketing officer, Destination Canada. “And while the situation for travel is dire and deteriorating, and while many Canadians may not be able to be with friends or loved ones this holiday season, “This is Canada Nice” is a powerful reminder of the generosity of spirit and pride that connects us all.”

How: The husband and wife songwriting team of Sankoff and Hein was also behind the smash theatrical hit Come From Away. “This is Canada Nice” has the feeling of a musical play, opening with successive spoken words verses delivered by individuals, building to a larger singing chorus. Destination Canada describes it as a “love letter to Canada,” that covers sweeping scope of Canadiana from the diversity of languages, foods and cultures, to the rugged landscapes and bustling cityscapes, and historic accomplishments in science and sport.

It’s sung by an appropriately diverse cast of performers including celebrated Quebecois drag queen Rita Baga; Indigenous singer-songwriter iskwē; and Canada’s first female astronaut, Roberta Bondar.

More than a song: The Canada Nice platform launched in July as the consumer-facing brand for Destination Canada. The landing page was created to share stories about the many things that make Canada “nice,” and there’s a growing catalogue of short profiles on YouTube about people and places across the country.

And we quote: “We set out to create a 90-second musical conversation about Canada—with people from across the country. We were thrilled to work with some of our heroes. They are all passing the torch of ‘nice’ to each other to define what ‘Canada Nice’ is, accompanied by unique animation and set to a soundtrack of musical styles.” — songwriter David Hein

David Brown