It’s not every day you turn 150 years old.
That’s why Canada is getting a pretty sweet birthday gift next year from the federal government.
Yesterday, the Liberals unveiled $17.5 million in funding for local events and arts projects, along with a national “soundtrack” to mark our fine country’s 150th next year. About $7.5 million is designated for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) to foster Canadian musicians in coordination with the Polaris Music Prize for what promises to be a “mosaic-like” soundtrack, according to the TSO’s Vice-President of Marketing, David Postill. It will feature a series of compositions and new performances by Toronto’s renowned symphony.
The TSO will work with an assortment of orchestras from across the country (36, to be exact) to highlight the work of the country’s iconic musicians, as well as up-and-coming artists, to create a project that’s reflective of Canada.
The announcement was made at Regent Park’s Daniels Spectrum before an orchestral cover of Drake’s “Know Yourself” by the TSO and children from the Regent Park School of Music. Making her maraca debut was Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly, who joined in the performance (check out the video below to see how she did). Beloved Toronto-based rapper Kardinal Offishall also showed up for the occasion, assuming MC duties.
As for the remaining $10 million, it will be used to fund community projects, with grants for up to $50,000 allocated to stage events in communities across the country. The funds will flow through the Community Foundations of Canada, which serves as an umbrella group for nearly 200 organizations that support projects in Canadian towns and cities. With the help of Jim Balsillie (former Research In Motion co-CEO), these organizations hope to overmatch the federal support by adding $30 million more from their own contributions, in addition to private and public donations.
As reported by The Toronto Star, and outlined by Joly yesterday, the themes for the anniversary projects include diversity and inclusion, reconciliation with indigenous peoples, the environment, and youth.
As you may recall, we got to experience the TSO in all of its behind-the-scenes glory when we joined them for their Florida tour, which makes us all the more excited for the project.