Canadian Classroom On Rails/Salle de Classe Ferroviaire Canadienne is a venture to take young Canadians from each of Canada’s provinces and territories on an intensive survey tour of the country, beginning with a pilot in 2017.
They’ll travel largely by rail, visiting the northern and island regions/capitals by air or water.
The group will be selected in a process that identifies an ability to describe kanata in more than facts/figures and more than one medium—visual, music, movement—including evidence of an understanding of the Canadian spirit.
In 49 days as voyageurs they’ll be joining dots: geo-historically, culturally, socially, and spiritually. They’ll keep journals, participate in readers’ theatre scripts, learn songs and dances, take hiking, biking and kayaking side trips.
They will spend time with resource persons—elders, writers, artists, business leaders—in each region visited, following up in discussion/reflection onboard.
They’ll experience both official languages in the daily routine (bilingualism not required to participate) and a range of cultures of the Canadian mosaic.
30 days after trip’s end, each will submit an agreed project that reflects their learning/experience aboard. For the next 9 months each will share this experience as a Classroom ambassador to the next year’s applicants.
On selection, each student will pay a $1200 tuition fee (nonrefundable) and a $2400 deposit (refunded on successful completing course requirements).
The actual cost/student—20 times this amount—will be funded by corporate and private interests investing in the future leadership of the country.
Existing government programs and services may be utilized but governments are not foreseen as major sponsors. Linking a legacy project to politics is not a wise long term investment as governments change.
The same applies to other donors. Although we may depend on one or two major benefactors at a pilot stage, allowing any one party to underwrite more than 10% of budget could compromise Classroom’s independence.
Early Canadian development was funded by “companies of adventurers” whose dividends were often different from what they expected. Investors in Canadian Classroom are their successors with a more visible presence.
They’ll accompany the Classroom in their locales, interact with students and have an opportunity to describe the role their enterprises play in the country.
Their return will be recognition and greater understanding of the challenges they face by a future group of leaders they have encouraged. Some of these will be future parliamentarians, corporate directors and other public figures!