Canada is a massive nation, the illusion of endless space encouraging the belief that we can simply move whole communities to pave the way for social, political and economic goals.
The consequences of community relocations continue to shape this country, providing lessons about upheaval, resilience and reconciliation. In partnership with national Indigenous organizations and with funding from the Government of Canada, the Royal Canadian Geographical Society developed Re:Location, a multimedia project examining the impact of relocation on communities, culture, traditions, languages, livelihoods, social status, and the environment.
In its March/April 2020 issue, Canadian Geographic magazine published a feature article on the theme of relocation. Written by contributing editor Julian Brave Noisecat, photographed by regular contributor Christian Fleury, and mapped by Canadian Geographic cartographer Chris Brackley, the story explored the repeated uprooting of the Oujé-Bougoumou Cree and their 70-year search for a permanent home on their own territory.
Reach: 4,000,000 + readers per issue (print + digital)
Giant Floor Map
The Re:Location Giant Floor Map displays in precise cartographic detail stories from Canada’s past about the movement and relocation of peoples and communities and how these relocations have shaped the Canada we know today. Five maps were made available to schools to borrow, accompanied by thematic lesson plans and a teachers’ guide.
Reach: 90+ bookings, 8,100+ students engaged
An intricately researched and beautifully-designed poster map by Canadian Geographic cartographer Chris Brackley showing community relocations in Canada was included with the magazine’s March/April 2020 issue and inside a dedicated edition of the magazine’s French-language counterpart, Géographica. The map was also distributed to schools throughout Canada.
Reach: 4,000,000+ readers per issue (print & digital)
Teachers’ guide and lesson plans
Lesson plans and accompanying teachers’ guides were created to tour schools across Canada alongside the Giant Floor Map. Plans and guides for 10 activities, created by the Canadian Geographic Education team, are available for download on the Can Geo Education and re:Location websites. Topics include High Arctic Relocation, Parks Versus People and Urban Transformation.
Reach: 1,100+ downloads
A tiled version of the Giant Floor Map was made available for download to educators across Canada via the Canadian Geographic Education website, alongside other educational materials.
Reach: 305+ downloads
Videography & film
Re:Location, a powerful four-part documentary series, was broadcast nationally on CPAC in both French and English. Re:Location reveals, through the eyes of survivors and their descendants, the histories of four different peoples impacted by relocation at different points in Canadian history: Africville, N.S., the Métis of Alberta, Japanese-Canadians interned during the Second World War, and the lost villages of the St. Lawrence Seaway. The episodes are available on-demand at the CPAC website.
The bilingual Re:Location website allows users to explore in-depth the stories of community relocations in Canada through an interactive map. Users can toggle map layers to explore the various justifications for community relocations, including war, industrial development, and conservation, and view examples for each.
Reach: 4,000+ visits
Community relocations have shaped and continue to shape Canada as a country. A Re:Location-themed photo competition hosted through the Canadian Geographic Photo Club in the fall of 2020 asked Canadians to submit images and written reflections on the question: what does home mean to you?
The competition took place during the COVID-19 pandemic, so unsurprisingly, many of the more than 200 entries showed homes, backyards, neighbourhood parks, family members and pets. Three winners were chosen by a panel of internal judges.
Reach: 215 entries
Social media reach
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