Charlottetown girl shares vision of Canada with governor general

Mitch MacDonald
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West Kent student Nevaeh Murray and her mother, Sally, hold up a poster depicting a diverse yet united Canada. As the P.E.I. winner for the Imagine a Canada national art and essay competition, the 11-year-old is showing Gov. Gen. David Johnston the poster this week at Rideau Hall.


Nevaeh Murray has a vision of what a future Canada should look like.

The 11-year-old West Kent student is sharing that colourful vision with Canadian Gov. Gen. David Johnston this week at Rideau Hall.

A posted created by Nevaeh was named the P.E.I. winner for the Imagine a Canada competition held across the country.

"I'm pretty excited," said Nevaeh, who found out in early February she had won the competition. "Most of my friends were pretty proud when we found out. All of them came up behind me and said 'good job.' They were pretty happy for me."

Nevaeh and her mother, Sally, flew from Charlottetown to Ottawa on Sunday, where they're staying until today.

The national art and essay competition, which was open to Grades 1 to 12 as well as to undergraduate students at the post-secondary level, was organized by the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR).

It asked young people to share their thoughts on what the future of Canada will look like through reconciliation. Students were able to submit works of art, poetry, film or traditional essays.

For Nevaeh, her choice was a poster showing individuals of all colours holding hands around a map of Canada.

"I just started thinking, what if I do different people holding hands all around, then I said 'what should I put in the middle?' and I thought 'Canada, because that's what it's all about'," said Nevaeh. "Then I coloured them all different so each one has their own unique personality."

Nevaeh also wrote text on one side of the poster advocating for a diverse and united country.

 "We know we made mistakes in the past but now it's time to right our wrongs, time to learn from them and teach the next generation this important history," reads the poster. "No matter our race or background we stand together, all of us as one, and we unite as a country because we are all different but we are all Canadian."

Sally said she was extremely proud, not only when her daughter won the competition but also just by creating the poster.

"She didn't have to do it, it was an extracurricular project," said Sally. "For her to do a school project on the weekend was pretty neat but then, when I saw it, it was like this is amazing... it's what Canada is all about."

Apart from a roundtable discussion and awards ceremony at Rideau Hall, the duo's visit to Ottawa includes visiting an Aboriginal Centre for a lunch-in and touring the Parliament buildings.

They will also meet up with Nevaeh's grandmother, who will be flying to Ontario from Vancouver.

In addition, Nevaeh will meet honorary witness and Canadian Olympian Clara Hughes, as well as Indian Residential School survivor and NCTR Governing Circle Member Eugène Arcand.

"Nevaeh is only 11 years old, but I think it's good for them to know about this," said Sally. "It's important to get the youth talking because they are the next generation."



Organizations: NCTR, National Centre for Truth, Aboriginal Centre Indian Residential School

Geographic location: Canada, Charlottetown, Ottawa Ontario Vancouver

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