Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Citizenship and Immigration Canada

October 28, 2009 10:00 ET

Government of Canada Launches 2009-2010 Mathieu Da Costa Challenge

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 28, 2009) - Young Canadians are invited to participate in the 2009-2010 Mathieu Da Costa Challenge, a national writing and artwork contest for youths that promotes a greater understanding of Canadian history and diversity. Through this contest, young people are asked to research and demonstrate how Canadians of different ethnic backgrounds have shaped our country's history.

"In discovering the stories and characters of our past, we develop greater respect for one another and increase our understanding of Canadian history," said Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism. "This contest provides an excellent opportunity for young people to conduct research into the exciting lives of the individuals who have laid the foundations of our diverse society."

Mathieu Da Costa is believed to be the first person of African descent to have set foot in Canada. A navigator and interpreter, Da Costa is documented to have travelled extensively throughout the Atlantic Region in the late 1500s and early 1600s. He often acted as an interpreter between the French and the Mi'kmaq.

The Mathieu Da Costa Challenge highlights the contributions made by Canadians of Aboriginal, African or other backgrounds to the building of Canada. The contest is open to youths between the ages of 9 and 18 and accepts submissions in the following categories:

- Original literary work, such as an essay or poem, in English or French; and

- Original work of art, such as a painting, a computer-generated image or a sculpture.

Winners will be chosen in each category for three age groups (9-12, 13-15 and 16-18). Additional honours include the Mathieu Da Costa Parks Canada Award - given to the three best submissions featuring the contributions of a National Historic Person of Aboriginal, African or other background to the building of Canada - and the Public Choice Award, which gives Canadians the chance to vote for their favourite entries.

The creators of winning submissions will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Ottawa with a parent or guardian, VIP tickets to the awards ceremony and a certificate of achievement.

The Mathieu Da Costa Challenge encourages young people to discover ways in which diversity has shaped Canada's history and the important role pluralism plays in Canadian society.

Partners include the Parks Canada Agency, the Historica-Dominion Institute, the Canadian Library Association and Capital Hill Hotel and Suites.

For more information on how to participate in the Mathieu Da Costa Challenge, please visit

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