TORONTO – A new campaign celebrating the majesty of the Great Lakes and their importance for the 40 million North Americans living in the Great Lakes Basin is being launched today at the bi-national Great Lakes Public Forum in Toronto.
Greatness The Great Lakes Project uses history, art, culture, and recreation to strengthen the importance of the Great Lakes for all who live near them.
“The Great Lakes are equal to the Rockies or the Grand Canyon,” says campaign co-founder Douglas Wright. “Their very greatness makes them difficult to grasp. After all, you can’t see across them, but you can see them from outer space. They are sacred for Indigenous Peoples; indeed, the Anishinaabe call water ‘the lifeblood of Mother Earth’.”
On the eve of Canada’s sesquicentennial celebrations, Greatness reinforces the Great Lakes as a central part of the identity of those who live in their watershed. “Our dream,” says Wright, “is to establish an international centre that serves as a focus of Great Lakes celebrations and reinforces our shared responsibility for this tremendous natural resource.”
Born out of a series of roundtables hosted over the past year by the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, Greatness has already begun to support activities connecting people with the Great Lakes. “Great Waters Challenge is a new online game for youth,” says co-founder Karen Kun, “and Great Art for Great Lakes is also underway in eight Ontario communities.”
“The Great Lakes are a symbol of our identity, our heritage, and our future prosperity,” says the Lieutenant Governor. “I am happy to support Greatness as this initiative promises to inspire and commit us to a future of sustainable engagement with these bodies of water.”
“Greatness also recognizes that people in communities use the Great Lakes differently,” says Kun. “The overarching message is that all activities, including tourism, industry, culture, recreation, and those connected with the environment, rely on the Lakes being cherished and used in sustainable ways.”
A number of supporters have already come on board for Greatness, including Algoma Shipping, Council of the Great Lakes Region, Redpath Sugar, and Lake Ontario Waterkeeper.