What is Passages Canada?

One speaker’s story: Jason Lee

aboutAn initiative of Historica Canada, Passages Canada volunteers share their personal accounts of cultural identity and heritage on-line in our multimedia Story Archive and in person with schools and community groups.Since 2002, over 900 speakers have created dialogue on Canada’s rich diversity with over 250,000 youth and new Canadians.

Passages Canada has grown to incorporate Canadian-born speakers as we continue to build understanding and respect for Canada’s shared history and values.

Historica Canada is the largest independent organization dedicated to history and citizenship in Canada. Its mandate is to build active and informed citizens through a greater knowledge and appreciation of the history, heritage and stories of Canada.

Our Partners

Passages Canada is made possible with support from:



How it all began…

What are the struggles, experiences and life lessons of Canada’s immigrants? How did they feel leaving their homeland and arriving in a new and strange place? How has it felt to try to fit in, learn a new language and try to start over? How did they go about making Canada feel like home?

These questions began the journey into exploring the deeply personal side of immigration. Prominent authors, among them Ken Wiwa, Shyam Selvadurai, Michelle Berry, and Nino Ricci set out to answer these questions with their own personal stories which were compiled in the book Passages: Welcome Home to Canada (Doubleday, 2002) and were also featured on Book Television and Canadian Learning Television in 2001.

Bringing Stories to Life

To have these stories truly come to life would involve more than words on a page. The Dominion Institute, now Historica Canada, created the Passages to Canada Speakers Bureau (now Passages Canada) to give youth and new Canadians the opportunity to hear the inspiring stories of immigration firsthand. The first regional bureau of the program began in Toronto with just 20 speakers. Quickly the program grew to encompass Vancouver and Montreal. Regional champions were identified across Canada to spread the word and involve their communities.

Polling Canadians on Racism

In 2005, an Ipsos-Reid poll commissioned by the Dominion Institute on racism found that 1 in 6 Canadians have been victims of racism. These findings prompted the creation of the Dismantling Racism initiative in 2010 which saw new speakers join Passages Canada who work to promote anti-racism in their community and have themselves experienced and overcome racism. Combatting racism through storytelling continues to be an important part of the Passages Canada mandate.

Where We Are Today

There are now over 900 Passages Canada speakers across Canada from over 120 countries who have created dialogue on Canada’s diversity with over 250,000 youth and new Canadians. Passages Canada is growing to incorporate speakers from first and second generations, as well as from Francophone and Aboriginal communities, as we continue to build understanding and respect for Canada’s shared history and values. The program’s new Youth Wing aims to engage speakers under 40 to share their success stories with groups across Canada.


Community Ambassadors

Thank you to the many organizations that are ambassadors of Passages Canada in their communities:

Canadian Council for Refugees

Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 

COSTI Immigrant Services 

FUSION Halifax Immigration and Diversity Action Team 

Groupe Professionnel Haïtien de Toronto (GPHT) 

Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria 

ISIS (Immigrant Settlement and Immigration Services) 



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