Sharing Canadian Culture. Creating Digital Stories.

I just discovered yet another amazing resource, “Canada: Profiles in Culture.” This one comes courtesy of the NY Times. Whether or not you’re a teacher, if you are looking for readings on interesting Canadians you should check this publication out.

The Times has gathered profiles on 13 Canadians who represent a wide spectrum of talents and backgrounds. Culture is the common ground, as architects, writers, actors and directors, are featured alongside orchestra conductors and poet/professors.

Here’s the summary from the NY Times website:

Canada: Profiles In Culture
Drawn from the pages of The New York Times and The New York Times Magazine, and spanning the past 35 years, this collection of profiles provide snapshots into the lives of 13 notable Canadians at various points in their careers. Behold the stories of a French Canadian conductor with a tattoo, a 50-something rocker with the soul of a poet, an architect with Blackfoot roots and a rebellious Indie actress-director and more.

Here’s a list:

Gord Downie (Singer, Tragically Hip)
Alice Munro (Writer)
Dan Akroyd (Actor)
Moshe Safdie (Architect)
Sarah Polley (Actor)
Yannick Nézet-Séguin (Conductor)
Anne Carson (Poet, Professor)
Lorne Michaels (TV Producer)
Alanis Morissette (Singer)
Robertson Davies (Writer)
Michael Cera (Actor)
Douglas Cardinal (Architect)
Tatiana Maslany (Actor)

This is a superb lineup of Canadian arts and culture. Though it skews slightly to the contemporary (Michael Cera), the articles also date back as far as the 80s (Robertson Davies).

For teachers: What can you do with this material? The sky’s the limit as far as I’m concerned. How about reading and writing assignments? Biographies? Investigations of Canadian culture and ethnicity? Group work where students compare and contrast? Presentations?

How about some pros and cons? I think this resource is amazing but it won’t work for everyone.

Pro: Ready to print! One handy aspect of this publication is that the PDF has each profile cleanly separated from the next, and there’s no advertising in sight!

Con: The readings tend to the long side, and the audience isn’t meant to be students. Some will work better than others, but all can be used if you focus on the introductions or tasks like scanning and skimming (for key information).

View and download NY Times’ Canada: Profiles in Culture:

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