Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Citizenship and Immigration Canada

February 21, 2011 11:19 ET

Canadian Youth Take the Mathieu Da Costa Challenge and Explore Canada's Diverse Origins

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwire - Feb. 21, 2011) - Ten young Canadians were honoured today in the 15th annual Mathieu Da Costa Challenge for their winning essays or art demonstrating Canada's diversity.

"It is important that Canadians develop an understanding of our country's rich history and that we combat racial discrimination," said Senator Stephen Greene on behalf of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney, at a ceremony at the Halifax 2011 Canada Games. "Through their creative writing and artwork, these young people are helping to build bridges and increase intercultural understanding among Canadians."

The ten winners, accompanied by a parent or guardian, came from across Canada – Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, British Columbia, Alberta, Quebec, and Ontario – to Halifax to take part in the ceremony, and to visit Pier 21, Canada's Immigration Museum, and the Black Cultural Centre of Nova Scotia. Of the ten winners, three also won the Mathieu Da Costa Parks Canada Award, given out in partnership with Parks Canada, for their work featuring a National Historic Person.

First launched in 1996, the Mathieu Da Costa Challenge is a national contest for youth ages 9 to 18. It is named after Da Costa, who is believed to have been the first person of African descent to step on Canadian soil, working in the late 1500s and early 1600s as an interpreter for French explorers and Aboriginal groups in Atlantic Canada.

Partners of the contest include the Parks Canada Agency, the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, the Canadian Library Association, Canadian Race Relations Foundation, Halifax 2011 Canada Games, the Historica-Dominion Institute, Ontario Black History Society, and Pier 21 Canada's Immigration Museum.

Winning entries can be viewed at:

For more information on the Mathieu Da Costa Challenge, please visit

Contact Information

  • Citizenship and Immigration Canada
    Minister's Office
    Celyeste Power
    Citizenship and Immigration Canada
    Communications Branch
    Media Relations