• By: Dan Donovan

FAITH in Canada 150

This is an exciting year for Canada and especially for the nation’s capital. Our city has never looked better and people who live here understand that we are in the middle of a renaissance. The new O-Train system will soon be operating changing the lives, schedules and commute times for hundreds of thousands of people. This seamless transit system will make commutes shorter for all and it will be much easier to move effortlessly across the region to enjoy the many amenities and activities offered. The re-development of the National Arts Centre is a marvel and has reinvigorated the downtown area. The Lebreton Flats project is underway and will dramatically change the entire city for decades to come. The Byward Market remains a jewel for tourism, while the Ottawa Art Gallery is running one of its most successful fundraising campaigns in history which will culminate in the opening of the new facility year, and new high rises and houses are being built across the region — from Westboro to Preston Street to Chinatown and the Glebe and out to Orleans in the east and Stittsville and Kanata in the west. Meantime, south Ottawa has a burgeoning international community of new immigrants from more than 60 countries. The Parliamentary precinct is in the middle of the biggest expansion since Confederation. Add to this that we benefit from the many exceptional national museums and we have some of the best park-and-recreation spaces of any city in the country. If you really want to enjoy the region further, you can take a 15-minute ride and spend your days in the Gatineau’s. Lansdowne Park is finally coming into its own as a destination sport and entertainment venue. The NHL’s Ottawa Senators will soon be moving downtown to a new rink at Lebreton Flats. We have a Grey Cup champion football team in the Redblacks, and exceptional and winning teams in the Ottawa Champions and Ottawa Fury. The Ottawa 67’s are still attracting fans while the city is about to stage the Scotiabank NHL100 Classic outdoor hockey between the Sens and Habs in November at Lansdowne Park. So much going on and so much to celebrate. Our hats are off to the mayor and city councilors and administration for doing such a great job in managing all these events. As we celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday we thought it would be a nice gesture to start a series on Faith in Canada. Often in our busy lives we tend to forget about the contribution of faith to Canada, its institutions and our common life. Faith has shaped the development of our city and our country. While we are a secular society, we are also a faith-based society. For many of us, faith has shaped how we live our lives, how we see our neighbours, how we fulfill our social responsibilities and how we imagine our lives together. Faith has been a common denominator in Canada’s history and remains important today. One of the stories featured in this issue is about the exceptional efforts Turkey is making to assist refuges from Syria. Canada and Ottawa have also assisted in helping people through the brutality of the Syrian refugee crisis. In a world deeply wounded by violence, prejudice and inhumanity, faith pushes back. Our series, Faith in Canada 150, will tell some of the stories from the many communities of many faiths in Canada. Through these stories we are reminded of our common values and why we live as we do in Canada. And we are reminded why in Canada, whether you are Christian, Aboriginal, Muslim, Jewish or another religion, faith matters.