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By Sharon MacKenzie
Executive Director i2i Intergenerational Society
Intergenerational Consultant
Board member CNPEA



How did you recognize the day? Here’s what Canada was up to in 2018!

A bit of background
Intergenerational Day Canada (June 1st) was initiated in 2010 by students and not-for-profits to celebrate the power of intentional, respectful connecting between older adults and children/youth. Together we can prevent mistreatment of older adults, and build all-age friendly communities step-by-step, hug by hug.

8 years later...
This year, 9 provinces and 3 territories officially recognized the day. Our message was shared and supported through Legislatures, schools, seniors’ organizations, media, social media campaigns, non-profit organizations, churches, First Nations organizations, commercial enterprises and most importantly, from person to person as friends travelling along the ageing spectrum.

Sundre Pioneer Museum (Alberta) celebrated the day by inviting older adults to share skills from the past with youth. LINKages in Calgary threw a citywide event drawing people of all ages. The Agassiz Legion in B.-C. held a BBQ, the Toronto Intergenerational Partnerships also held a citywide event for the eighth year in a row, and the Toronto District Schools, having proclaimed the day in perpetuity, worked to bring students of all ages together with seniors. New Brunswick, launched their Intergenerational Tool Kit, and joined the provinces of Manitoba and Ontario proclaiming the day in perpetuity. Over 100 Canadian cities have proclaimed June 1 as Intergenerational Day Canada with the hope that connecting across the ages will become part of what their city does.

Across Canada, intergenerational choirs were heard, Ontario Family Services encouraged connecting generations in their newsletters, children and older friends proudly displayed their jointly created pieces at art shows. In Saskatoon, iGen, a senior centre-embedded school project and partnership between Sherbrooke Community Centre and Saskatoon Public Schools  celebrated their 4th anniversary. In Regina, a local business highlighted all the local programmes available to seniors and kids. A group of intergenerational participants in the Maritimes even made cards to celebrate what the relationships between generations meant to them. The Premier of Nunavut said the day helped the people remember the importance in the Inuit culture of young and old respectfully sharing their lives. In keeping with the health issue of isolation and loneliness across our country, the Canadian Medical Association recognized the day by stating how important intergenerational bridging is to good social and mental health.

All of these initiatives point to the value that people place on meaningful cross-age relationships. There are few projects and organizations across Canada that work methodically on this bridging all year round. We need more people involved in this simple and effective way to improve social and mental health and build more resilient communities.

Want to know more and join the movement?
Check out the iGen Grade Six classroom embedded in Sherbrooke Community Centre in Saskatoon. Join the intergenerational choir that two local doctors started in Salmon Arm, B.C. Sign up for a school programme provided by Link-Ages out of Calgary, or Toronto Intergenerational Partnerships in Toronto. Go on to the New Brunswick government website or Edmonton City website and have a look at the Intergenerational Toolkits they are rolling out. Start your own project with ideas from the four government-funded intergenerational resources found at intergenerational.ca.

Contact us at and tell us about a project you know.

Most of all, if you missed June 1 this year, maybe get on board with your organization, neighbourhood or next-door neighbour and start building those bridges today and then celebrate them with all of us on June 1, 2019.

 

 

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