Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Culture of Canada
It has been said that Canadian culture rests solely in the effort to distinguish itself from its southern neighbour, the United States. However, others argue that while the two countries share some aspects of a common cultural heritage, there is also a separately identifiable "Canadian culture." They point to what they view as a greater integration of Native American cultures than elsewhere in the Americas; the retention of traditions descended from those of French settlers; and a notable infusion of Celtic settlers in later phases of the country's history.
One matter of contention in the effort to study Canadian culture rests in the fact of Canada's bilingualism; there is little reason to question the distinct identity of the English- and French-speaking peoples of Canada. However, John Ralston Saul conjectures that Gabrielle Roy is better known in anglophone Canada than in France, and more French-Canadians than Americans know of Margaret Laurence and Atom Egoyan.
See Art in Canada.
Canada has a thriving stage theatre scene, especially in Southern Ontario. Theatre festivals draw many tourists in the summer months, especially the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Stratford Ontario, and the Shaw Festival in Niagara On The Lake, Ontario. The Famous People Players are only one of many touring companies that have also developed an international reputation.
See Theatre in Canada.
Film and television
The canadian film market was dominated by the american film industry for decades. In the 1960s Michel Brault , Pierre Perrault , Gilles Groulx , Jean-Pierre Lefebvre , Arthur Lamothe and other filmmakers from Québec began to challenge Hollywood by making innovative and politically relevant documentary and feature films. Among the important english-speaking filmmakers from this period are Allan King and Robin Spry. Michael Snow continues to be one of the most respected experimental film makers in the world.
Canada has developed a vigorous film industry that has produced a variety of well-known films, actors, and auteurs. In fact, this eclipsing may sometimes be creditable for the rather bizarre and quite innovative directions of the works of such auteurs as Atom Egoyan (The Sweet Hereafter, 1997) and David Cronenberg. Also, the distinct French-Canadian society permits the work of directors such as Denys Arcand and Denis Villeneuve. However because of the closeness of the giant American TV and film industries, distinctively Canadian productions such as the TIFF List of Canada's Top Ten Films of All Time are relatively thin on the ground, compared with the situations in Britain or Australia. Canadian TV stations usually fill their prime times with US shows, often running at the same time as they are broadcast in the US.
A number of Canadian pioneers in early Hollywood significantly contributed to the creation of the motion picture industry in the early days of the 20th century. Over the years, many Canadians have made enormous contributions to the American entertainment industry, although they are frequently not recognised as Canadians (see Famous Canadians).
Canada's film industry is in full expansion as a site for Hollywood productions. The series The X-Files was famously shot in Vancouver as is Stargate SG-1, and The Outer Limits. The American Queer as Folk is filmed in Toronto. Montreal, due to its European appearance, has served in a great variety of mainstream movies, attracting the loyalty of industry people such as Bruce Willis; there are plans to build the world's biggest film studio on the outskirts of the city. The choice of location is usually due to cost, rather than a requirement for a 'Canadian atmosphere'. The frequent question of a Canadian, seeing a film crew on their local streets is "Which bit of the States are we pretending to be today?".
Canadian television, especially supported by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, is the home of a variety of locally-produced shows. French-language television, like French Canadian film is buffered from excessive American influence by the fact of language, and likewise supports a host of home-grown productions. The relative success of French-language domestic television and movies in Canada often exceeds that of its English-language counterpart.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission's Canadian content regulations dictate that a certain percentage of a domestic broadcaster's transmission time must include content that is produced by Canadians, or covers Canadian subjects. This also applies to US cable television channels such as MTV and the Discovery Channel, which have local versions of their channels available on Canadian cable networks. Similarly, BBC Canada, while primarily showing BBC shows from the UK, also carries Canadian output.
One of the country's attempts to counteract the overwhelming influence of American media is the National Film Board of Canada , "a public agency that produces and distributes films and other audiovisual works which reflect Canada to Canadians and the rest of the world".
Main article: Canadian humour
There are plenty of eminent Canadian humourists. The Kids in the Hall were a popular Canadian sketch group. Also the Second City Television show originated in the Toronto Second City operation, which produced many comedians that went on to success worldwide, including John Candy, Rick Moranis, Eugene Levy, Dave Thomas, Catherine O'Hara, and others.
Other Canadian comics and comedy groups include Jim Carrey, Mike Myers, CODCO (the precursors to This Hour Has 22 Minutes), Maggie Cassella, and Elvira Kurt. The Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal is the world's largest comedy festival.
Canada has developed its own brands of traditional music, including the French, Irish and Scottish-derived Cape Breton Violin Music of the Maritimes, the Franco-Celtic styles of Quebec that often include foot percussion and a scat style called turlutte; and other national styles from the Ottawa Valley to the west. Noted proponents are Buddy MacMaster and his niece Natalie of Cape Breton and Madame Bolduc of Quebec, whose recordings in the 1930s lifted her people through depressing times.
The Canadian music industry has been helped by government regulation designed to protect and encourage the growth of distinct Canadian culture. The Canadian Content (CANCON) regulations force all radio stations in Canada to play at least 35% Canadian music. This has enabled Canadian artists to garner success on the airwaves which were once dominated by American and European acts. Now it is common to hear several Canadian songs on the radio every hour you listen.
In the realm of popular music, Canada has produced a variety of internationally successful performers, such as (alphabetically): Paul Anka, The Band, Barenaked Ladies, BTO, Bruce Cockburn, Delerium, Céline Dion, Maynard Ferguson, Nelly Furtado, Robert Goulet, Guess Who, Avril Lavigne, Bif Naked, Holly McNarland , Gordon Lightfoot, Sarah McLachlan, Joni Mitchell, Alanis Morissette, Anne Murray, Nickelback, Our Lady Peace, Oscar Peterson, Rush, Hank Snow, Three Days Grace, The Tragically Hip, Shania Twain, and Neil Young.
See also: Music of Canada
- Culture.CA: Canadian cultural portal online
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