It’s encouraging to see people flocking to national parks, historic sites and free cultural events to celebrate Canada’s 150th with their friends and family. It’s not just about national pride. It’s important for national wellbeing.
The Canadian Index of Wellbeing’s (CIW) Leisure and Culture domain tracks household spending on culture and recreation, visits to national parks and historic sites, as well as time spent on:
- social leisure
- physical activity
- arts and culture activities
- attending performances
- nights away on vacation
- volunteering for culture and recreation organizations.
All of these factors are so important to our expression and development as humans that both “the right to rest and leisure” and “the right to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts”[i] are enshrined in The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the Convention on the Rights of the Child.[ii]
You literally have a right to celebrate! Yet participation in leisure and culture in Canada declined by more than 9% over the past two decades. It’s an erosion of what defines us – as individuals, outside the workforce – and it’s a serious hit to our wellbeing.
So please, revel in Canada’s 150. Let’s value how much leisure enriches us both personally and collectively. Let’s treasure it as a fundamental expression of who we are, and let’s commit to ongoing universal access to leisure – for everyone, everywhere, all the time – in our communities and in our country. Let that be the legacy of Canada’s 150.
Celebrate! It’s good for you.