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Discovering Canadian Culture Around The Campus

Canadian International School of Guangzhou 2021-07-02 17:25:07

Although Canada Week was just a 5-day event, the celebration of Canadian culture is not just a one-off activity. In fact, almost at every corner of our purpose-built CIS campus, you will find the spirit of Canada. 

Maple Leaf Spirit

The red maple leaf has been Canada's national symbol for over 150 years. Today, around the world, the maple leaf is inextricably linked with Canada and it proudly stands for unity, humility and peace. These are also core values that are held by Canadians themselves.

As a Canadian school offering the rigorous Alberta curriculum, these are the same core values that we teach our international students so they may grow up to be caring, confident and respectful adults. In keeping with the CIS motto, ‘Learn Today, Lead Tomorrow,’ our entire educational philosophy is developed around the premise of the ‘Maple Leaf Spirit,’ and this is fully understood, shared and embraced by every single member of the school community. 


As you enter the CIS campus through our wide and welcoming gates, the first thing you will notice is a giant stone sculpture - rocks balancing on another - resembling a human form. This is known as an Inuksuk. It is a symbol of the Inuits, the first people to inhabit the northern part of Canada. The word "Inukshuk" is derived from its shape, and means "like a human being."

Originally, Inukshuks were built by the Inuit people ro provide direction across the land of the north for hunting and navigation. Each stone had a purpose pointing to different directions, the best fishing spot, navigation or location for a celebration. Each coded message comforted and connected them, and allowed them to remember that there was more that lay ahead of them.

These days, the Inukshuk also send a brilliant message out to the "next traveler" that someone had previously stood where they stood and experienced what they did. To CIS, our Inukshuk represents the very same, but also stands for communication, friendship, teamwork and strength. 


Walking through the grand entrance of the CIS, the first thing you'll see on the ceiling of the foyer is an upside-down canoe!

In Canadian history, the canoe is a symbol of identity. Canadian aboriginals and European settlers used canoes to explore and discover all that Canada had to offer. The canoe was the country's original means of transportation, allowing the indigenous people to take advantage of this unique environmental feature. Made with natural materials, the canoe provided freedom, gave rise to opportunity and fostered commerce.

In CIS, it vividly represents adventure, exploration and teamwork - skills that the school aims to instill in all our students. It characterizes the pioneering and adventurous spirit of our community as they collectively move forward in their learning journey. Every time we look up and see the canoe, we can feel a renewed sense of adventure, understanding and discovery.

Orange Shirt Day

CIS honours one of the most important events in Canadian cultural heritage: Orange Shirt Day.

Orange Shirt Day commemorates the indigenous children of Canada who were forced to attend residential schools, where they were forbidden to speak their language, compelled to adopt “white” culture, and often physically and emotionally abused.

The orange shirt comes from the anecdote of Phyllis Webstad, whose beloved orange shirt given to her by her grandmother was taken from her on the first day of school. Today, an orange shirt represents the family, tradition and identity that was taken away from the Indigenous Peoples of Canada. It's also a reminder of “Every Child Matters” and that every child deserves to be treated with dignity, respect and kindness.