Talia Leacock, Storyteller | #Chronicle150 #34

For the #Chronicle150, one thing I really appreciate is when people don’t feel forced to stick to the script.

I met Talia when scouting contributors for this year’s Tales from the 2.9, quickly intrigued when I realised she holds a degree in professional writing from York University!

I’ve developed a real love for the craft over the years, so I immediately respect when others show the same, and I think you’ll see it in Talia’s piece for the #Chronicle150—those years of investment shining through in the story of how she came to Canada and the path to where she is now!

I hope you enjoy Talia’s post below—it’s a great read!

We’ll see you tomorrow for the next post in the #Chronicle150!

Until then,

–case p.


My earliest memory of Canada includes a strange collection of items that are surely not uniquely Canadian, but in my mind, are inextricably linked to Canada—flurries, capri pants, and Swedish meatballs.

My family and I moved here sort of accidentally in the fall of 2002. After more than 18 hours driving from Kissimmee, Florida to Toronto to visit my stepfather’s sister and renew his Canadian passport, complications with U.S. immigration led to an unexpected resettlement. Goodbye, Florida sun. Hello, Canadian chill.

#Chronicle150 — 150 Truly Canadian Stories for its 150th Birthday — #34, Talia Leacock, Storyteller — Full Body Shot Talia LeacockIt was October, to be exact, during one of those years when winter crept in early. Lawns were still covered in red, yellow and orange leaves, shaken from the trees by gusts of wind that were colder than any breeze I had ever experienced. Before Florida, I had only lived in my homeland, Barbados, so Canada’s chilly temperatures were a first for me. I was fascinated by the sight of my breath suspended in the cool autumn air. I took every opportunity I could get to stand outside and puff little clouds out above my head.

Robert Iveniuk, Writer | #Chronicle150 #29

I admittedly had a far more grandiose introduction in mind for the second phase to #Chronicle150, but there’s an àpropos saying about the best-laid plans of mice and men that comes to mind instead.

Tales from the 2.9 was quite the ordeal and an ambitious way to start #Chronicle150, but with my annual Black History Month celebration at a close, I’m redirecting my energies into celebrating this sesquicentennial in style—I only get one shot at it, after all! I’ll share my thoughts soon enough, but I’ll let my good friend Rob start us off for now.

Rob’s one of the most intelligent and passionate writers I know—his #Chronicle150 submission has a lot to pick apart, from our murky history to our internationally-renown niceness, and a bevvy of ways in which we can grow. I think you’ll take a lot from his words, and hopefully, they inspire you to look at your own Canadian experience and what you’ve gleaned from it!

I hope you enjoy it, and I’ll see you tomorrow with the 30th #Chronicle150 post!

Until then,

–case p.


Who are you and what are you all about?

My name is Robert William Iveniuk, and I am an author, columnist, and scriptwriter who lives and works in Toronto. I enjoy flights of fancy and media studies, and I have worked in and out of the not-for-profit sector for years. Whether or not I am good at any of those things is up for debate, really.

#Chronicle150 — 150 Truly Canadian Stories for its 150th Birthday — #29, Robert Iveniuk, Writer — Robert Iveniuk Speaking

What makes you so Canadian?

I could type “I was born here, mate” and then walk away, but then I wouldn’t be a good writer if I did that.

Let’s go into terminology first, because that definition of “Canadian” has become increasingly vague over the years – and for the better, really.

When I think of such concepts as The Canadian, I think back to what I’d always been told growing up that Canada embraces being a Mosaic over a Melting Pot, that people are Swedish-Canadian, Bengali-Canadian, Ghanaian-Canadian, or First Nations, rather than simply “Being Canadian.” It’s that idea of having distinct values that you grew up with, maintaining a unique cultural or ethnic identity while being part of a larger whole. Being Canadian, in that respect, is not about Where You Came From so much as it is about What You Came From. It’s asking that question of how the hardships you and your family endured and whatever privileges you benefitted from over the generations affected your worldview and what you expect out of life and other people. It is also your reference point for your ideas of success and being a better person to yourself and those around you.

Speaking for myself, my family’s history is pretty Canadian. My father is descended from Ukrainian refugees who fled Eastern Europe during the Bolshevik Revolution, and my mother is an expat who left Britain to see the world.  Hearing about my father’s life growing up in the poorer parts of Winnipeg and my mother’s experiences when she first came here played a huge part in my growth as a person. This made it easy for me to understand the friends I’d made who were New Canadians or still had family abroad. It was also what inspired my decision to work in the not-for-profit sector, especially in immigration, and part of the reason why I am a storyteller.

That ability to connect and empathise with other people, no matter how different they are, is very Canadian to me. It’s something that I see in my family, friends, and the people around me, and it’s something that I see in myself.

Samantha Kemp-Jackson | Tales from the 2.9 2017 #6

I’ve faced a number of issues as a Black Canadian, yes, but those suffered by Black Canadian women are on a different level entirely.

It’s no coincidence that the Women’s March happened the day after Donald Trump was inaugurated as President — his election campaign was awash with sexist sentiment leaving women feeling more objectified than ever, so when Samantha Kemp-Jackson echoed these feelings in her submission, it was sadly just another example that women of colour have dealt with entirely too long.

Compiling Tales from the 2.9 gives me hope that with enough mindful action, we can find ways to work past the shackles that bind us, but who of us will commit to taking the first steps on that very long road ahead?

Hopefully, this post will inspire you to do just that!

Until tomorrow,

–case p.


What does being Black Canadian mean to you?

To me, being a Black Canadian means many things. It is a daily exercise in intersectionality, with my skin colour being the constant. I am a Black Canadian, but I am also a woman. The combination of both of these elements has led to many experiences, both positive and less-than-positive that are sadly, not uncommon for Black women in general.

I think we (People of Colour) have all experienced some standard questions: “Where are you from?” or “No, where are you REALLY from,” which underscores that while we may be a diverse society, we still have a way to go in terms of the greater public accepting minorities as “real Canadians.”

That said, it’s not all doom and gloom. Being a Black Canadian, and a Canadian in general, has allowed me to be appreciated by many who embrace multiculturalism, and who are open and welcoming to all. As well, I appreciate the many cultures and the diversity that I experience on a day-to-day basis. Living in Toronto, I’ve been spoiled in that every day, it’s the norm to see, speak with and interact with so many Canadians of diverse backgrounds and ethnicities. Being a Black Canadian means walking through life with many different lenses and experiencing the society from a unique and interesting perspective.

Tales from the 2.9 — The Black Canadians Sharing their Stories in a Digital Age — Vol. 2 #2, Chattrisse Dolabaille, Writer, Performer & Producer

Some people I meet in the most interesting places.

Back in 2014, Tobago’s Division of Tourism and Transportation held the 60 Days in Paradise contest, seeking an “Island Connoisseur” to promote Tobago and all it offers to Canadians looking to travel. Though the competition wound up feeling like a bit of a sham, I did end up making new connections from the ordeal, and one of them was Chattrisse!

The narrative she outlines below is one commonly felt by Black kids when they choose not to follow the archetypes that youths of colour seem to frequently adhere to. I too have had more than enough helpings of “not Black enough” in my life, and I hope her words reach out to anyone feeling a little lost!

That said, enjoy Chattrisse’s submission, and I’ll see you tomorrow!

–case p.


Tales from the 2.9 — The Black Canadians Sharing their Stories in a Digital Age — Vol. 2 #2, Chattrisse Dolabaille, Writer, Performer & Producer — Chattrisse Photo 2

What does being a Black Canadian mean to you?

It means lots of code-switching! Being able to move comfortably into, out of, and through different environments and situations as seamlessly as possible. In my experience, it also means I have abundant reasons to be proud of my heritage and identity: as a Canadian, as the child of Caribbean immigrants, as a Torontonian, etc. I’ve always enjoyed disproving stereotypes, and over the years I’ve found that being a black Canadian gives me numerous opportunities to do that.