Canadian Heritage

Canadian Heritage

May 13, 2009 00:05 ET

The Government of Canada Appoints Mark Rowswell, "Dashan," as Canada's Commissioner General for Expo 2010, Shanghai

SHANGHAI, CHINA--(Marketwire - May 13, 2009) - The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, today announced the appointment of Mark Rowswell, known as "Dashan," as Canada's Commissioner General for Expo 2010, which will take place in Shanghai, China, from May to October 2010.

"Expo 2010 provides a valuable opportunity for Canada to strengthen economic, diplomatic, and cultural ties with China," said Minister Cannon. "As Commissioner General for Canada's participation at Expo 2010, Mark Rowswell will be our country's official representative, promote Canada in China, and welcome guests to our pavilion."

"Mark Rowswell has a unique bond with his hundreds of millions of fans across China, and he will be an outstanding Commissioner General," said Minister Moore. "His presence as part of the Canadian team will attract visitors and media to our pavilion and ensure that tens of millions more elsewhere in China will be encouraged to learn more about Canada."

Mr. Rowswell represented Canada as the Canadian Team Attache for the 2008 Olympic Games, is well known for his intercultural and charity work, and has been inducted into the Order of Canada. His term will run for 18 months, from May 2009 to November 2010.

Expo 2010 is expected to be the biggest exposition ever, with more than 230 countries and organizations participating. The Government of Canada expects between 5 and 5.5 million visitors to the Canada Pavilion: 30 000 per day.

With the assistance of Cirque du Soleil, Canada is creating a stunning pavilion that will be the jewel of Expo 2010 and an excellent showcase for Canada's theme "The Living City: inclusive, sustainable, creative." The objective is to make the Canada Pavilion the destination of choice at this Expo. Our participation will also include a spectacular and extensive cultural program that will showcase Canadian artists and performers from a wide range of disciplines.

This news release is available on the Internet at under Media Room.

Biography of Mark Rowswell

Mark Rowswell, whose stage name is Dashan, has been called the most famous foreigner in China. He has become a regular fixture on Chinese television and a cultural icon across the nation. Ask anyone in China, and eight out of ten will be able to tell you who Dashan is.

Born and raised in Canada, Mr. Rowswell began studying Chinese in the mid 1980s, first at the University of Toronto and later at Beijing University. While in Beijing, Mr. Rowswell became interested in traditional Chinese performing arts, particularly xiangsheng, a popular form of comic dialogue. A chance opportunity to perform on television soon followed. What Mr. Rowswell did not realize was that this program would be broadcast nationally to an audience of 800 million television viewers, and that Dashan would become a household name literally overnight.

Almost 20 years later, Dashan is still going strong. Having diversified and developed into a multi-faceted performer, language educator, and television host, Mr. Rowswell is now considered a cultural ambassador between China and the West, having found a common ground between the two cultures. To many Chinese, Mr. Rowswell is an international role model and a prominent symbol of "East meets West."

Today, Mr. Rowswell is involved in a wide variety of activities, from hosting television programs and live events, to dramatic acting, public speaking, publishing, education, and celebrity endorsement. When he is not working in China, Mr. Rowswell lives relatively anonymously with his wife and two children in a rural setting north of Toronto.

For more information about Dashan, visit

Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage
    and Official Languages
    Deirdra McCracken - Director of Communications
    Canadian Heritage
    Media Relations
    Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
    Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office