A Vision for a Smart & Caring Canada


The Victoria Foundation’s creation of a Smart & Caring Community Fund was inspired by the Governor General of Canada. But what is Smart & Caring all about? His Excellency, the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, explains in this excerpt of his speech delivered at the official launch of the fund in Victoria July 19 before a crowd of more than 400 people:

I think that it is the community that will drive our success in the 21st century, that will define what it means to be Canadian.
Our communities have always been sources of change, of innovation, of giving within Canada. But modern communities have greater responsibilities and opportunities in an increasingly globalized world. Better technologies and great access means that you have a longer reach and a better chance to work with each other to create a lasting legacy for generations to come.
Individual communities may prosper, but only when we work collectively can we realize our greatest potential: to be a smarter, more caring nation.
In his book, A Fair Country, John Ralston Saul…explains that the concept of happiness descended from the idea of fulfillment and accomplishment, itself based on the well-being of others. As he puts it: “Today we often describe this as volunteerism, that is, doing something for others on a continuing basis. So happiness today might describe an engaged citizen or an active volunteer.”
Not coincidentally, this can also describe, quite accurately, what community foundations do. They are in existence not just to help communities succeed, but also to urge others to take up the cause.
At the beginning of this month, we began our five-year countdown to the 150th anniversary of Confederation. As we approach this milestone, I want to leave you with several questions: what can we do, in Victoria, in British Columbia, in Canada, to create a smarter, more caring nation? What will our gift to the world be in five years’ time? And how will we work together to get there?
With the launch of the Smart and Caring Community Fund, the Victoria Foundation is well on its way towards answering these questions.
The Victoria Foundation’s new Smart and Caring program, The ABCs of Physical Literacy , is a great way to support children, to help them battle inactivity and gain confidence. In turn, they might be inspired to help others throughout their lives, building on the kindness that they were shown early on. And who knows what they will think of to transform our communities in the future? And when this happens across the country, a better Canada is the result.
The saying goes that it takes a village to raise a child. But taken a little farther, we can see that it takes a series of smart and caring communities, with engaged citizens at the core, to build a healthy and inclusive country.
Read the full prepared text of His Excellency’s speech.