The feature of the entire fair – and the reason why all students were at UBC – was the Provincial Showcase. It was at the Student’s Nest in the centre of campus, attracting both students passing through the building and interested strangers. After every project was distributed back to their eager owners, the set-up process began. Four rows of tables were covered by various poster boards and models including dioramas, newspapers, books, and interactive activities. However, before people could go and explore the projects, the opening ceremonies were held. A bagpiper led the procession into the hall, with several important dignitaries following. Britney Quail headed up the emcee duties (coincidentally, she is also our wonderful alumni coordinator!) and introduced Elder Larry Grant. He spoke about recognizing the unceeded territories that the entire campus resided on, and how we should all remember and recognize the various nations that inhabited the area before us. Afterwards, politicians Joyce Murray, David Ebey and Spencer Chandra Herbert spoke, thanking Elder Grant and reminding us to always be historically conscious and active. Members of different organizations also spoke, as well as faculty heads and the dean of the education faculty. President of the BC Heritage Fairs Society Michael Gurney finished off with a wonderful reminder that time capsules are not necessary in today’s world. He then declared the fair open.
The projects were of a huge spectrum, ranging from Gold Rushes to pianists to tanks. Students all seemed very interested in their work and were excited to speak to me about their research findings. Some presentations that particularly spoke to me were projects about Alexander Graham Bell, Canadian Tanks of World War II, the Numbered Treaties and the Indian Act, and the journey of a Jewish refugee to Canada from Nazi Germany. Each of the 30-something projects taught me something new, and also gave me a new and refreshing perspective about old and often-done topics. Students were relaxed yet well-versed in their areas of knowledge, and answered questions with ease and confidence. The creativity of the projects completely blew me away. The various models and maps were completed to the final detail and had their own touches to the dioramas.
I had high expectations for the projects, and I was completely blown away. I walked away from the building feeling enlightened about Canada’s history, the showcase, and the students that made the projects.