Identifying Canadians: Canada Day Through the Eyes of BIPOC

Canada Day For BIPOCs

When consulted about the standards of Canada Day, most individuals tend to celebrate the national holiday in spectacular fashion. Putting on displays of live music, entertainment and fireworks to showcase their passion and patriotism to their country. With that being the social norm throughout society, this June 30th at The Grand in Calgary, Alberta, a group of people hope to add some knowledge and insight into your next Canada Day event, and provide a new outlook into the perspective of others.

People cheer during Canada Day celebrations on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Sunday, July 1, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Identifying Canadians is an event based upon delivering not only art, but education. Where Calgarians, Canadians and citizens alike can visit to discover and learn more about Canada Day through the eyes of BIPOC. BIPOC stands for Black, Indigenous, and people of colour. Pronounced “bye-pock,” this term originated in the United States. Intended to centre the experiences of Black and Indigenous groups and demonstrate solidarity between communities of colour.

Importance Of Perspectives

People can expect to witness music, poetry, and educational conversation. As the event aims to display and discuss what it means to have a “Canadian Identity”. More so, the actuality of living through Canada Day whilst being a person of colour. In addition to hosting a group of panelists providing topics to converse, individuals are encouraged to come share their own experiences of living in Canada and what it means to themselves personally.

Creating a safe space allowing individuals to share their own descriptions of what Canada Day means to them can be beneficial to growth within society. However, this particular conversation will be targeting primarily black, indigenous and people of colour.

Identifying Canadians plans to highlight certain crucial questions that may plague BIPOC individuals. Intending to discuss how the traditionally perceived “Canadian Identity” is different for racialized Canadians. Stating,”We will look into how factors such as stereotyping and being first-generation vs an extended family lineage in Canada plays a role in how “Canadian” racialized people are perceived by others and themselves.”

Observing various perspectives can help broaden and open your mind to new ideals, and understandings of different cultures. Ultimately, an event such as Identifying Canadians can potentially result in bringing people closer together. When asked about the treatment of BIPOC individuals and experiencing Canada Day, Latoya Elle (Event Coordinator) for the Identifying Canadians event spoke personally about the issue.

Saying, “I believe that progression is happening. However, without consistent conversation and actively calling out racial discrimination, whether micro or macro, the progression will continue to move at a gentle pace. Canada Day continues to be a symbol of colonialism, white supremacy and genocide for Indigenous peoples. And I feel we should be very mindful of this (including me), if we choose to celebrate this occasion.”

Moving Forward

By curating this style of event, Identifying Canadians was created with a few unified goals in mind. Firstly, to educate people about trials and tribulations BIPOC individuals face assimilating into Canadian culture. Secondly, letting individuals share what their Canadian identity means to them. And thirdly, by having this event, they hope that racialized people feel empowered to speak up in racially tense conversations and that non-racialized people leave with a better understanding of BIPOCs experiences, and a desire to share and practice what they have learned.

Identifying Canadians at The Grand YYC, Thursday June 30th 2022

If you want to engage more about their conversation, head to and register for a free seat today.