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Canadian? It's cool

Westmounter dreams up stunt

The Westmount Examiner, November 26, 1992

By J. Marion Feinberg

Click the image to see original article

THEIR future's so bright, they gotta wear shades.

At least 40 Dawson students paused to be photographed in sunglasses as part of a Cool to be Canadian event Friday afternoon last week.

Organizer and Westmounter Philip McMaster enlisted the help of the Dawson Political Awareness Society and the Dawson Institute of Photography to get students thinking about Canada. He decalred the afternoon session an unqualified success.

"We're trying to rekindle a sense of optimism and a felling of confidence about the future of young people in this country," said Mr. McMaster, who is also a Dawson photography student. "There's a helluva lot of cynicism among youth in general."

Tony Manarolis, said he forgot his sunglasses but borrowed a pair for the shoot because he wanted to be part of it.

"You can't say it in words, but it means a lot," he said.

by 12:50 p.m. a small crowd gathered on the upper level of the Dawson atrium near the Metro entrance. Some people shyly put on their shades as Mr. McMaster pulled them out of the crowd and into the friendly glare of the photogs' flash. Huge "Cool to be Canadian" posters are the backdrop for the rapid-fire portraits that are being shot amidst the hustle and bustle fo the busy college.

Two Dawson Institute photographers for whom Canada has become their adopted country praised the idea of the event.

"I don't blame them for wanting to be Canadian and being proud of it," said James Gutierrez.

Anne Fourquier, born in France agreed.

"What makes Quebec is thanks to Canada and vice versa," she said. "It's the interrelation and the exchange that goes on that's important. Both stand as powerful and important societies."

The whole idea of being Canadian and cool is a way to attract young people's attention, said Mr. McMaster. He said the portraits would likely be displayed at some future date.

"It converts and subverts coolness... We're trying to generate new attitudes toward life, specifically public life," he said."We need a process of drawing out leadership qualities in young people and get them out of the sheep mode."Mr. McMaster said he started doing all this when he decided it was the right thing to do, and someone had to do it. He said he's on no one's payroll and pays for the expenses out of his own pocket.

Twenty-year-old Shaheda Khan asked a spectator what the stunt was all about and decided to join in.

"Being Canadian means opportunities, good education and living in a beautiful country with lots of rights," he said.


Source: The Westmount Examiner, November 26, 1992.

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