A Canadian Dream: 1965–1970

June 10 to August 20, 2017

In the warm glow of national celebrations, dreams of unity abound. This was certainly the case during Canada’s last big birthday bash in 1967 marking the Centennial of Confederation. A closer look, however, shows that the bright optimism of this time—summed up in Montreal’s Expo 67—blurred or completely erased deep divisions within Canadian society. This exhibition looks at the years immediately before and after 1967 and traces the fractures with the Canadian Dream through artworks from the MacKenzie’s permanent collection. The picture painted by these selections shows a nation in transition as it redefined its British colonial identity under pressure from within and without. The rise of the United States as a cultural superpower, internal divisions between French and English-speaking Canada, the emergence of voices from Canada’s Indigenous communities, second wave feminism, and debates around multiculturalism reshaped Canada’s cultural landscape. Looking back at this critical period sheds light, not only on the past, but on our present moment, as these issues continue to colour our collective dreams in 2017.

Joyce Wieland, I Love Canada – J'aime le Canada, 1970, cotton and metal link chain, 153.1 x 304.7 cm. MacKenzie Art Gallery, University of Regina Collection.