Luminaries gather in Charlottetown for 2017 STARTS NOW

May 17, 2013

Multi-city conference series aimed at developing best ways to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017

What do these top luminaries from a diverse range of pursuits including the arts, culture, business, technology have in common?

Deborah Apps – President & CEO Trans Canada Trail
Gilles Arsenault – President, Prince Edward Island Teachers’ Federation
Ian Bird – President and CEO, Community Foundations of Canada
Dave Cormier – Manager, Web Communications and Innovations, University of Prince Edward Island
John Rowe – President, Island of Abbey Foods Ltd.
Bonnie Stewart – Educator, writer, Ph.D. candidate, University of Prince Edward Island
Jowi Taylor – CEO and Founder, Six String Nation

The event will be co-hosted by Bruce Rainnie, host, CBC News: Compass and Audette Chiasson, producer and host, Radio-Canada.

These great influencers will gather in Charlottetown, on Tuesday, May 21 for an exploratory discussion on how best to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017. They will present their thoughts on today’s Canada, its future and how to celebrate its 150th anniversary.

Jowi Taylor, the featured speaker and award-winning radio broadcaster, and his Six String Nation is a story about Canada told through the lens of one very special guitar - a guitar made from wood, bone, steel, shell and stone representing every province and territory of Canada. Taylor founded this independent project to help Canadians explore their history, geography, and identity from a multitude of perspectives. The guitar is made from sixty-seven pieces of Canadian history: from Pierre Trudeau’s canoe paddle to Paul Henderson’s hockey stick from the 1972 Canada-Russia Series, to a piece of the sacred Golden Spruce of the Haida Gwaii nation.

CBC/Radio-Canada, in partnership with Community Foundations of Canada (CFC) and VIA Rail Canada, is sparking the national conversation about Canada’s upcoming 150th anniversary of Confederation with the CANADA 150/2017 STARTS NOW conference series, in collaboration with other local and national organizations.

The conferences are being held in both official languages and bring together citizens and leaders from communities across every region of the country, representing every demographic of our diverse society. This series of regional conferences is taking place across the country from April to June 2013. Ideas and suggestions generated at the conferences will be compiled and presented at the CANADA 150/2017 STARTS NOW summary event in Ottawa on June 27.

The Charlottetown event is one of a dozen related conferences being held across the country, aimed at informing, inspiring and incubating local and regional projects and ideas to celebrate Canada’s upcoming 150th anniversary of Confederation, and to develop new ways to connect Canadians to national initiatives. Canadians have the opportunity to watch the CANADA 150/2017 STARTS NOW conferences via live stream on the interactive digital platform at Additionally, Canadians can participate in the conferences live by submitting comments to @cbclive and using #Canada150 on Twitter.

For additional event information and speaker bios, please visit

For further information or to arrange access/interviews, contact:

For Radio-Canada
Johanne Huard, Radio-Canada
Regional communications manager

Renee Weekes
Senior publicist, CBC
416-205-2053 (office)
416-729-7945 (cell)

For VIA Rail Canada
Jacques C. Gagnon
Senior manager, Community and Media Relations, Legal and Corporate Affairs

For Community Foundations of Canada
Anne-Marie McElrone
Vice president, Public Engagement
613-236-2664 x 304

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