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Confederation Centre launches Symons Medal and Lecture Essay Contest

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Island students in Grades 11 and 12 are invited to submit an original and creative essay or digital piece responding to the current state of Canadian confederation for the Symons Medal and Lecture Essay Contest.

The Symons Medal is one of Canada’s most prestigious honours, recognizing a distinguished person who has made an exceptional contribution to Canadian life.

The 2018 Symons Medal was awarded to internationally-acclaimed historian, Margaret MacMillan, on Nov. 23 in the Homburg Theatre at Confederation Centre of the Arts. MacMillan’s accompanying Symons Medal lecture was entitled “The Lion’s Cub: The First World War and the Evolution of the Canadian Nation”.

This year’s essay contest theme challenges students to consider pressing issues surrounding Canadian identity. Does Confederation look and mean the same as it did when Canada was first dreamed into being? If the national union is indeed still working, then is it working for everyone? If not, how could Canadian union be more inclusive? What could Confederation look like in 2050?

Students may reflect upon these questions or develop their own themes within the broader Canadian confederation subject.

Students may wish to draw upon ideas presented during MacMillan’s 2018 Symons Medal lecture, available to read or watch in video format via

They may also develop a digital design to present their essay, such as a podcast or video form (no more than 10 minutes) or a mixed media, such as long-form blog with images and video. Winning entrants will receive prizes totalling $2,000. The essays will be reviewed by a panel of judges appointed by the centre and winners will be announced in May 2018.

Student contestants should submit their entry by April 30 via email to or by mail to Ellen Theuerkauf, Confederation Centre of the Arts, 145 Richmond Street, Charlottetown, C1A 1J1.

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