What symbols make you think of Canada? Perhaps it’s the Canadian flag or the beaver? Or maybe it’s the game of hockey or lacrosse? These are just some of the many symbols that have come to represent the nation in popular culture. They help to communicate our history and our culture, and to establish our distinct national identity. But there are many unofficial symbols that do the same thing. For some it’s our varied landscape and climate, or foods such as poutine or maple syrup. For others, it’s the values enshrined in our Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

 Through art and artifacts from the Museum London collection, this exhibition explores the history of symbols that have come to express the Canadian identity. Visitors of course will see snow shoes and the de rigeur toque. They will encounter Jack Canuck, Mounties, and the big Bonhomme de neige, as well as real-life Canadian icons such as Tecumseh, Laura Secord, Terry Fox, David Suzuki, Buffy Sainte-Marie and Stompin’ Tom Connors, Wayne Gretzky and Maurice “the Rocket” Richard. Works of art and images, from currency and popular culture, illustrate quintessential vistas and iconic animals including the beaver, moose, polar bear, Canada goose and the loon, in this dynamic exhibition of Canadian signs and symbols. 

Image: John Boyle (Canadian, b. 1941), Dance, 1995, watercolour on paper, 28.1 x 38.5 cm, Collection of Museum London, Gift of Jeffrey Lipson, Toronto, 2002