I attended on behalf of Oak Bay, the 2013 BC Provincial Heritage Fair. This provincial organization promotes an awareness and understanding of Canadian heritage among students and fosters youth leadership. Each year, more than 5,000 students from every region in BC, in grades 4 to 10, research some aspect of local or Canadian history and participate in the Fair. Their projects are impressive to say the least.
The following is the speech I gave at the ceremony held July 7th at the Royal BC Museum and St. Ann’s Academy:
“Thank you for inviting me to attend and speak to you today as you celebrate this year’s BC Provincial Heritage Fair. It is a privilege, on behalf of the Municipality of Oak Bay, to participate in this event.
By now, through your projects and research, you have learned, as I have, that to appreciate the present and to plan for the future, we must have an understanding and knowledge of our past, our history and our heritage — in other words, as individuals, as families, as communities and as British Columbians and Canadians, where we are now is largely defined by where we have been. Knowing about our history not only helps us to understand what is happening today but also serves to guide us to the future.
I am struck by how many students participate in and attend this Fair each year, about 5,000 of you from grades 4 to 10 I’m told, and I am impressed by your keen interest in local and Canadian history. This Fair is truly a celebration of your learning through your research projects.
Your projects are diverse and wide-ranging, from the War of 1812, to First Nations art history, the 2010 Olympics and a lot in between. Your projects celebrate people, places and events, all of which have had a profound influence on our local, provincial and national histories.
I also hope that they have had a profound influence on you. Please keep asking questions and searching for answers — remember, for those who make history, they are never satisfied with things as they are and believe passionately in what might be.
Thank you for your hard work, and thank you to your teachers and families for their support that brings all of you to this wonderful celebration today. All the best.”