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Evidence of meeting #25 for Canadian Heritage in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was museums.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Jim Watson  Mayor, City of Ottawa
Michele McKenzie  President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Tourism Commission
Judith Baxter  Volunteer Director, John Fisher Memorial Museum
Jane Fullerton  Chief Executive Officer, New Brunswick Museum
Pierre Wilson  Director-Curator, Musée des maîtres et artisans du Québec

11:40 a.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Tourism Commission

Michele McKenzie

The CTC is focusing on youth travel as a theme, and internationally we're trying to connect that to the educational marketing activities that are going on, that Canada is not only a great place to travel but also a great place to study. So that's the work we are doing and are trying to link that to the broader program that will emerge through the work of this committee and through Canadian Heritage. So at this point we're trying to be quite flexible, because we think that the idea of this program could link to a broad number of themes.

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

Justin Trudeau Liberal Papineau, QC

Thank you.

Mayor Watson, first of all, it's wonderful to see you here and to be able to congratulate you for the extraordinary job that Ottawa has done on Canada Day and all the festivals recently.

I have the same question for you. You've talked with the Prime Minister, with the Minister of Heritage. Do you sense that there is already an indication of what we will be celebrating, other than a calendar birthday? Have particular themes come forward, such as our celebration in 2017 being about Canada being the best of this or the best of that, or of what we're to showcase to the world?

11:45 a.m.

Mayor, City of Ottawa

Jim Watson

I obviously can't speak for the government. They're in the preliminary stages, I believe, of determining answers to that question.

I commend the committee for putting it on the agenda and inviting us here today. It's one of the reasons that the concept of Canada House in the old U.S. embassy across the street would be an example of where, I think, we can boast as a nation of some pretty remarkable achievements as a relatively young country. While our American friends are very good at boasting, I think sometimes we're a little too reserved and shy. This would be our opportunity to have that wow moment when students go in there and didn't realize that we invented the arm that was on the space shuttle, or that Canadians invented insulin to fight diabetes.

When I met with officials from the Smithsonian Institution, in this case the American history museum, I asked them what the number one exhibit was that people wanted to see at the Smithsonian. They said it was the ruby slippers of Judy Garland from The Wizard of Oz and Archie Bunker's chair. Maybe that says something about our friends in the States, but I think we want to have that opportunity whereby people can go in and see Celine Dion's gold record or the van from Terry Fox's remarkable Marathon of Hope, and have a chance for us as Canadians to see that we haven't realized that we invented everything from velcro and the zipper to the Canadarm, to the success we've had at hockey, to Bombardier's first snow machine in the world. It would give us an opportunity not only to celebrate those great Canadian artists and inventors and scientists and physicians, but also to look at our country in perhaps a different way than we have before, and to boast a little more about what we've accomplished as a country.

11:45 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Rob Moore

Thank you, Mr. Trudeau.

Mr. Richards.

April 24th, 2012 / 11:45 a.m.

Conservative

Blake Richards Conservative Wild Rose, AB

Thank you all for being here today.

I'm going to focus my questions towards Michele from the Canadian Tourism Commission.

Obviously, as the chair of the parliamentary tourism caucus and as the member of Parliament for Banff, one of our most beautiful tourism areas in the country, I've had a lot of opportunity to talk about the work you do and the tourism industry in general. You understand, as I do, how important the tourism industry is. We talk about a $74 billion industry. We talk about 600,000 Canadian jobs. Obviously, the work you are doing on the marketing side is an important piece of the success that the tourism industry enjoys in Canada, so I want to commend you for that. You have demonstrated what we can accomplish in that regard by being innovative and focused in our marketing efforts.

An important part of that is how well you work together both with our government, in terms of some of the initiatives we have, and also with other organizations, such as provincial organizations and destination marketing organizations across the country. I think a great example of that was when our Prime Minister gained approved destination status from China, which was a very significant thing our government was able to accomplish for the tourism industry, in working together with you guys and destination marketing organizations in parts of the country. I certainly know that in my area of Banff-Lake Louise, there was an award-winning tourism campaign around that. So we've been able to demonstrate how successful we can be in drawing travel when we all work together.

You had the video on the “Locals Know” campaign, and I want to point out in particular how brilliant I thought that campaign was. It was certainly very helpful to the industry.

I want to look at the numbers you have provided us here about that campaign, in terms of how successful it has been. You talked about some of the measurables: 4.5 million more trips by Canadians as a result, $1.2 billion more in tourism revenue, and 10,000 more jobs. Those are pretty significant results you were able to garner from that.

I want to look at that and then at the proposal before us, which I'm very intrigued about, for youth travel for our 150th anniversary. What do you anticipate or project as the results of a campaign like that in terms of those same kinds of numbers? What would we expect in terms of increased trips and jobs for people in the industry and revenues for the tourism industry? Can you give us some idea of what your projections would be?

11:50 a.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Tourism Commission

Michele McKenzie

You can see how some of the return on investment in that campaign was over a hundred to one in terms of dollars. It would be more modest if we were looking at a program targeting youth, but certainly it would be over our fifty to one international marketing benchmark, which means that for every dollar spent on marketing we would be seeking more than fifty dollars directly attributable to visitor spending.

One thing you raised, which I would like to mention here, is that our “Locals Know” campaign was really targeted not just at Canadians travelling within Canada but also at Canadians who were considering international trips, who we were trying to convert to the idea of travelling in Canada this year. That's exactly what we would try to do with the youth as well. We would take youth who are already dreaming and thinking about all these international destinations they're going to travel to in their lifetime and, to use some more marketing lingo, we would try to convert them to the idea of travelling in Canada. Specifically, we'd want to measure our success based on our ability to do that.

We already know that Canada is running a record travel deficit, meaning that a record number of Canadians are travelling outbound, spending record amounts of money internationally. We're also spending some decent money domestically, and our domestic tourism market is in pretty good shape, but the piece that's travelling outbound is the piece we are trying to keep at home.

11:50 a.m.

Conservative

Blake Richards Conservative Wild Rose, AB

Obviously, “Locals Know” is a good example of a success we could have in doing that.

What about the other way? Mr. Brown and by Mr. Trudeau, in some of their questioning, mentioned youth travel in particular. You mentioned trying to draw in international youth travel. I still want to hear a little bit more on some of your ideas for drawing that international youth travel in, both for Canada 150 and going forward.

Can you give us some ideas or thoughts or campaigns that you have planned in that regard specifically?

11:50 a.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Tourism Commission

Michele McKenzie

I think the biggest challenge we have is to inspire youth with the idea that Canada is a destination for them. When we've worked internationally, we've done a really good job of targeting our target customers, who are perhaps the empty nesters, people who have an opportunity to do more travel. But that's also had the effect of making our youngsters around the world believe that Canada is a destination for their parents. We need to inspire them with the idea that Canada is a destination for them.

We'll do that by extending programs, such as our Signature Experiences Collection program that has been so successful in inspiring the world with ideas of what they can do in Canada. We'll develop a special Signature Experiences Collection of experiences targeted to youth so they get the idea that this is not just a destination for their parents; it's a great destination for youth. We'll be able to compete with Australia and those great destinations that are right now top of mind for youth travel internationally.

11:50 a.m.

Conservative

Blake Richards Conservative Wild Rose, AB

Great, thank you. That's a great piece of the puzzle, for sure.

What about social media and the ways you can use that? Do you have some plans for social media? I guess I'm talking here about the domestic campaign and about drawing international youth. I'm sure social media must be part of your planning. What can you tell us about that?

11:50 a.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Tourism Commission

Michele McKenzie

Thank you.

I would say that about half of our work now is done through social media. Social media has become not just a channel for us but an integrated part of everything we do. It's also a much more efficient way to market than traditional types of paid media are.

Mostly what we would do with social media for the youth market is to have youth speaking about travel to Canada. It would be youth talking to youth.

It's a traveller-to-traveller type of opportunity we have through social media, which is much more relevant to youth than having a destination marketer tell them all the great things there are to do here. It's really trying to set up the networks and the content that will help feed that youth-to-youth recommendation on travel to Canada.

11:55 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Rob Moore

Thank you, Mr. Richards.

At this point, I'd like to welcome our other new member of the committee, Rathika Sitsabaiesan. Is that pronunciation close?

11:55 a.m.

NDP

Rathika Sitsabaiesan NDP Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

That's pretty good.

11:55 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Rob Moore

Welcome to the committee. You have the last question for this round.

11:55 a.m.

NDP

Rathika Sitsabaiesan NDP Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

Perfect. Thank you very much.

If I may start, Ms. McKenzie, you were talking about converting youth travellers, and you were speaking about the travel deficit. Your focus, from your comments, seems to be on converting existing travellers who are travelling internationally into domestic travellers. My understanding is that there is no focus on people or Canadian youth who actually are not able to engage in travel, whether domestic or international travel.

What are you doing there? How are you targeting these people who are living below a means that would allow them to travel or explore Canada? Is there something being done to encourage travel for people who are living at lower income levels?

11:55 a.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Tourism Commission

Michele McKenzie

We haven't looked at the full range of programs that could be offered in this type of a campaign yet. I do expect that with partners coming on board, I could see the opportunity for some sponsored types of opportunities. That may be part of the program.

11:55 a.m.

NDP

Rathika Sitsabaiesan NDP Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

So we're maybe looking solely to private sector donors or sponsors to ensure there's travelling in and exploration of Canada by all Canadians. Is that what it is? We're looking for private donors, to ensure that people who may not come from wealthy families have a travel experience?

11:55 a.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Tourism Commission

Michele McKenzie

I'm saying that I think we can have programs of that nature included, but I also think that by working with our partners, we'll be able to offer deals that should be accessible to many travellers, even if they're not going that far within Canada.

What we found in our research is that our young people don't have a great knowledge of our country as a destination, even for destinations close to where they may live. It doesn't have to be an expensive undertaking. There can be, I think, opportunities that are accessible for most young Canadians.

11:55 a.m.

NDP

Rathika Sitsabaiesan NDP Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

It would be great if it were accessible so that all Canadians could have that experience.

I'm going to switch gears a little bit. I understand that the City of Ottawa has developed a task force devoted to planning Canada's 150th anniversary. I'm going to ask you a multi-part question, Mr. Watson, and you can fill in the blanks for me.

First, can you tell me who the task force members are? Basically, who is represented at the table? Secondly, can you tell me how citizens from across the country are being engaged in your plans for our 150th celebration?

Do you think this task force could work at a national level to ensure that groups from coast to coast to coast are included in the planning of this great celebration? It's our country's party, and the people of the country should be involved in the planning of our party.

11:55 a.m.

Mayor, City of Ottawa

Jim Watson

Thank you for the question.

On our task force, we have representatives from Ottawa Tourism; our convention centre; the Chamber of Commerce; Ottawa Festivals, which is our cultural and festivals network; the Ottawa Senators; the economic development team; and the airport authority. We'll also have the Regroupement des gens d'affaires. As well, the National Capital Commission will be involved.

The two co-chairs are members of our city council.

I also will be attending the Big City Mayors' Caucus later this year in Saskatoon through the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, and I'm going to be raising the issue of what we are doing collectively, from coast to coast to coast, at the municipal level to start planning.

In many ways, we're a little behind schedule. Five years comes up very quickly. That's why I thought it was important, at least from the national capital's point of view, that we start the process and the dialogue with the federal government and the appropriate ministers and agencies, so that we can start reaching out to as many groups as possible to get them engaged and excited about the sesquicentennial.

Noon

NDP

Rathika Sitsabaiesan NDP Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

So it has been municipally led so far, and there's not really federal leadership on this. Is there going to be any public consultation or any input from the general public or the citizens across the country?

Noon

Mayor, City of Ottawa

Jim Watson

Well, to be fair, I started with a meeting with Minister Moore to talk about our plans, so that we could engage the federal government, because we know that the federal government will plan an integral role in celebrations on Parliament Hill and throughout the national capital region.

Also, the mayor of Gatineau—across the river—and the president of the NCC and I have a regular meeting. It has been a standing item on our agenda to start the dialogue. I met with the Prime Minister to give him an overview of some of our hopes and aspirations for the 150th.

Eventually when we bring forward an action plan at our level, it will go to a committee, which is the opportune time for the public to give their input. As for members of our council, I know that Councillor Hobbs has already gone out to various cultural groups in her community, and Councillor Bloess will do the same so that we can reach out to have a real grassroots celebration. It shouldn't be a top-down organization, because we want as many people involved as possible. It's their celebration, not just the government's celebration.

Noon

NDP

Rathika Sitsabaiesan NDP Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

What I'm saying is that it should be the people's party as well, so I'm glad to hear that from you.

Noon

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Rob Moore

Thank you.

That concludes this panel.

I want to thank you, Michele, and Mayor Watson, for being here. We really appreciate your input and the contribution that I'm sure both the City of Ottawa and the Canadian Tourism Commission are going to make as we develop our plans for this celebration. Thanks to both of you.

We will break for a couple of minutes so that the next panel can come up.

12:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Rob Moore

We'll get started again. This is the second half of our meeting.

As a reminder to committee members, all our witnesses have been invited for their particular contributions in their areas. We don't expect anyone to have all the answers on how we as a nation are going to celebrate Canada 150. That's partially our job. We as a committee have taken on this study. We're hearing from diverse witnesses and then we're going to be making recommendations to government. We look forward to our witnesses' contributions in their individual areas.

Today we have, from the John Fisher Memorial Museum, Judith Baxter, who is the volunteer director. It's nice to have you here with us, Judith. From the New Brunswick Museum, we have Jane Fullerton, the chief executive officer. From the Musée des maîtres et artisans du Québec, we have Pierre Wilson, the director-curator. Welcome to all three of you. You each have 10 minutes to present, and then we will have a round of questions and answers.

Does anyone want to start first? If not, we'll go alphabetically.

Go ahead, Judith.

12:10 p.m.

Judith Baxter Volunteer Director, John Fisher Memorial Museum

Good afternoon, my name is Judith Baxter.

I'm very pleased to have been invited to discuss ideas for the celebration of Canada's 150th anniversary, especially from a rural point of view. I represent a small community museum, the John Fisher Memorial Museum, which is part of the mandate of Kingston Peninsula Heritage Inc. The museum is located in the basement of an active school—from kindergarten through grade eight—in the heritage district of Kingston, New Brunswick.

As Kingston Peninsula Heritage Inc. is a totally volunteer organization and a member of the Canadian Museums Association, I would first like to say that we are huge supporters of the CMA proposal for the matching donation program, the Canadians Supporting their Museum Fund. Kingston Peninsula Heritage Inc. has also been a recipient of a Young Canada Works in Heritage Organizations program, and we support the CMA's effort to have these funds increased.

May I say that I clearly remember the 100th anniversary in 1967. I went to Expo. I hauled kids there. John Fisher spoke at our local 1789 Anglican Church as one of his stops on his cross-country tour, talking about small-town Canada in his capacity as Mr. Canada.

In 1967 the centennial farm designation was a great success, especially in our area. Each century farm was given a plaque, and there are even a few visible today as you drive around the country roads.

The family farm has been in decline since the 1967 celebrations. However, in recent years there has been a growth in small organic farms, which are attracting a younger generation of farmers. Located on the Kingston peninsula is a Saturday morning farmers' market, which works on the premise of 60% farm produce/product. In support of this small but growing farm sector, and since there are many such markets across the country that are highly supported by the general population and viewed as destination shopping, I suggest that these locations could be targeted as areas for celebrating rural Canada.

How might federal funds be directed? Please, let's not have any posters. A poster is at best a one-time waste of your dollars. A poster is quickly disposable. Since I suspect that in this economic climate there will not be an appetite for large-scale capital projects, consider something lasting and effective like a celebration kit.

Many years ago, Kingston Peninsula Heritage Inc. purchased cloth bunting—red, white, and blue fabric, very thin material. We have yards of it and we decorate everything. The bunting that is available for events now is plastic and is a one-shot-use expense. By packaging a celebration kit of reusable items—bunting, flags, banners, etc.—and including ideas on how these might be applied for local use you would be creating a visual expression of celebration across the country. A kit can be reused and recycled. These same celebration kits could be made available to museums, farm markets, schools, legions, etc.

In 1967 Canada was a different place, less corporate and more communal. The country was just beginning to discover and celebrate the diversity of its people, but in 2017 we may work to discover why we are all Canadians and celebrate being Canadian with less emphasis on our diversity. One way this may be approached is by telling the story of why we are Canadians and how this concept of one country developed; how people from differing backgrounds, financial status, and cultures were able to come to a fair and equitable consensus.

Why has telling the federal story been lost on our youth? There must be a way to highlight the story of the Fathers of Confederation, the arguments for and against Confederation, and what was taking place on the world's stage that brought about these discussions. How might federal funds facilitate this action?

In discussion with a friend, the following idea surfaced—six degrees of separation from our Fathers of Confederation. We saw this as a social media activity, hopefully targeting a youthful demographic. Perhaps this is an area that could be partnered with a RIM or a Rogers corporation for their expertise in design and promotion. Perhaps the corporate sponsor could run a competition for development of the program through tech schools.

Needless to say, this concept needs some fleshing out. This project would, however, have overtones of genealogy as well as social science. It may well be a project that may interest an online genealogy server like ancestry.ca.

The John Fisher Memorial Museum opened in 1982 and is only part of what this small community volunteer organization does, as is true with all community organizations. Located on a peninsula, the community has been saved from urban sprawl, as transportation is serviced by a ferry system. We have the advantage of being rich in vistas, built heritage, and low population. We are, however, cursed by being located in a local service district without municipal funding, nor have we businesses or deep pockets from which to draw much-needed funds.

Besides the museum, our mandate covers a heritage river lighthouse, an 1810 cottage in which we operate a tea room and gift shop, an artifact collection of 3,449 items, and a heritage garden that attracts a great deal of day-trip attention. We operate through the summer with federal and provincial student employment grants. These students are taught everything from accessioning artifacts to doing genealogy research, dealing with the public as tour guides, or waiting tables. They learn to sell in the gift shop and cook in the kitchen. Each becomes well versed in telling the story of the Kingston peninsula, gaining many skills through the summer and developing a pride of place.

How might federal funds aid in what we do? Our biggest hurdle is renewing an aging volunteer organization. This is an area where the CMA's Canadians Supporting their Museums Fund would be of great benefit to our organization. This shared donor giving may also encourage more volunteer participation, as the museum sector is seen to be an honourable contributor to the Canadian way of telling each of our stories.

Our second hurdle is accessing funds already available to small museum organizations. All the available programs at present require the organization to have at least one full-time employee. At present and in the foreseeable future, any funds we raise or have donated go to maintaining the heritage structures we own.

How we will celebrate the 150th anniversary of this beautiful country? In the past, we have celebrated the landing of the Loyalists with parades, teas, and special exhibits. We celebrated the provincial bicentennial with folk festivals, built heritage, and special exhibits. We celebrated the millennium by having the crossroads at Kingston—which include the 1789 church with a Loyalist graveyard, the 1788 rectory, the 1788 Union House, the 1810 Carter House, and the 1910 Macdonald Consolidated School—designated a provincial historic district.

Last summer, in celebration of the first European community in New Brunswick, the 400th anniversary, we held a cairn rededication on Catons Island in the Saint John River.

This year, in celebration of the War of 1812, we are supplying a heritage choir for the various celebrations that will be taking place across the province.

As volunteers, we are adept at working on a shoestring and at the last moment. I can guarantee that with your support and, if necessary, without your support, we will be celebrating the 150th anniversary of Canada, for the simple reason that in the museum community, we remember our diversity and celebrate our heritage. It's our passion.

I thank you for this opportunity.