Colette Bachand’s Canada is more than just maple syrup, beavers and igloos.
And when the Morinville Community High School (MCHS) student was thinking of Canadian imagery to include in her entry for a national poster contest, she said it was difficult to find anything but stereotypical images of the country she calls home.
“It took me a few good weeks to decide what exactly I wanted. Whenever I looked at all the posters, they were always stereotypical pictures like maple syrup and the maple leaf and snow, igloos,” she explained.
“That’s not Canada. It kind of makes me mad. Canada is so much more than that and I wanted to put that in my picture and that’s why it’s just not maple syrup and beavers but all these pictures that are Canada.”
Bachand’s visual interpretation of Canada caught the eye of judges in the 2010 Canada Day Poster Challenge, and she was awarded the contest’s top prize, a MacBook laptop.
She started working on the poster last year while learning about symbolism in a language arts class at MCHS.
“We were really focused on symbolism so it’s very much incorporated into my picture,” said Bachand.
Her Canada takes the form of an enormous tree filled with various images representing the country’s past and present, but also its potential.
“It blossoms and it grows into this magnificent tree, which is Canada and is still, forever more, is going to blossom and grow,” explained Bachand.
The roots, she said, represent Canada’s borders while an astronaut in space represents the county’s scientific and technological advancements. The work also includes images of the mountains, Drumheller and the aurora borealis.
“Those are all symbols of nature. Canada is nature, it’s what we’re known for,” said Bachand.
She said Canada’s education system is also included in an image of a graduate.
“We have a wonderful education system,” she noted.
“Canada is also a lot about family, it’s about being together,” she added.
Canadians of South Asian, Chinese, South African and Ukrainian decent are all included in her drawing, as is a First Nations mother and child.
Bachand said she doesn’t know what exactly she wants to do after she graduates high school, but would like to continue working on her art.