Experiences Canada Awards

The Experiences Canada History Award celebrates an individual who has advanced his/her exchange participants’ knowledge of Canadian history through an Experiences Canada exchange. The award is granted each year in conjunction with Canada’s History, and the prestigious Governor General’s History Awards. The recipient of the award travels to Ottawa to attend the Awards ceremony at Rideau Hall and be recognized at the Awards Dinner. In addition, the recipient receives a cash prize of $1000 and the school or youth group associated with the recipient receives a travel voucher worth $2500 to be applied to a future Experiences Canada exchange.

Launched in 2013, the award is inspired by the hundreds of teachers, group organizers, chaperones and parents who inspire youth to learn more about their history. We encourage you to nominate a teacher, group organizer, or chaperone who took history out of the classroom and into the field on an Experiences Canada youth exchange.



Having taught the junior high French Immersion program in Inuvik for four years, Ms. Lipscombe sees Experiences Canada’s exchange program as a rare opportunity not only for her students to experience life in a city but also to introduce Southern youth to the Arctic and to share with them the rich history, contributions, and potential of the North. To her, learning how the Inuvialuit thrived in a comparably inhospitable environment for thousands of years is just as important to understanding the history of Canada as the battle of the Plains of Abraham.

Ms. Lipscombe and her students planned a bilingual itinerary for their visitors from Quebec High School in Quebec City which included activities such as a trip on the ice road to the hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk; a walk on the Arctic Ocean and snowshoe to the Pingos National Landmark; dogsledding; playing traditional games; learning about local food and trying a caribou soup lunch; learning to build traditional shelters and making fire with a bow.

Providing an opportunity for youth to make new connections, to gain independence and confidence, to learn about our vast and diverse country and to have the opportunity to show off and appreciate their own community is the greatest reward for their collective organizational efforts. Northern youth tend to overlook the many advantages and opportunities northern communities have to offer and are often surprised to discover how excited Southern youth are to come North and simply appreciate “hanging out” on the land together.


While teaching at École Lakeview in Saskatoon in 2015 Ms. Kirsten Riebot organized an exchange that not only focused on helping youth participants develop their second language skills but also introduced their Quebec visitors to Saskatchewan’s rich and diverse history. They visited many of the province’s notable historic sites such as the Moose Jaw Tunnels, and the RCMP Museum, but they also went on a riverboat tour, visited a rural Fransaskois town, and the trip highlight, spent a day at Wanuskewin First Nation participating in a survival program learning about traditional medicines, edible plants, Pow Wow dancing, and how to make a bow & arrows. The week-long experience provided all students – both local and from away – with a deeper appreciation for the many cultures and heritages that have shaped Saskatchewan over the centuries and a life-long connection to each other.


Jacquie Mydynski-Arp, vice-principal of Swan Valley Regional Secondary School participated in a SEVEC exchange with College Trinité from St- Bruno, Québec. While Mrs. Mydynski-Arp and her students were hosting, she created an itinerary rich in Canadian history and heritage. The activities were chosen with the help of a committee of parents who wanted to showcase a day in the life of someone who lives in rural Canada. The intent was for students to develop cultural awareness and cultural appreciation of the Swan Valley’s uniqueness and character. Members from the Sapotaweyak Cree Nation and the Manitoba Metis Federation hosted a traditional aboriginal lunch for the 80 students and chaperones at the Elbert Chartrand Friendship Centre which was followed by native art demonstrations and traditional dancing and storytelling. Mrs. Mydynski-Arp created a well-rounded activity plan and representation of Canadian heritage that will be remembered by many students for years to come.


While teaching at Morell Regional High School, Mr. Kelly organized an SEVEC exchange with Rideau District High School from Elgin, ON. When Mr. Kelly and his students were hosting, he created an itinerary rich in culture and Canadian history and heritage. The youth started with a tour of Charlottetown, including the National Historic Site of Province House, Founders Hall, Canada’s Birthplace Pavillion, and listened to a description of the 1864 Charlottetown Conference. They also visited Cavendish Beach and PEI National Park and travelled to New Brunswick via the Confederation Bridge and visited the Gateway village.

“The SEVEC Exchange was amazing! I met so many unforgettable people and I was able to experience a part of Canada that I had never been to before. Not only did I learn a lot about the history and culture of PEI, but I also learned a lot about my own community and myself,” described Kathleen Warren, a Grade 11 student from Rideau District High School.

William Morris, the exchange teacher from Rideau District High School and 2012 SEVEC Ambassador Award recipient, had very positive feedback about Mr. Kelly: “Matt Kelly went above and beyond all expectations to ensure the success of this exchange visit. His passion for the program and his attention to detail allowed each and every person the opportunity to explore and appreciate the Prince Edward Island experience.”



Eligible candidates must be teachers, group organizers, or chaperones who have:

  1. Taken part in the Experiences Canada Youth Exchanges Canada program at least once within the last five years;
  2. Been instrumental in facilitating an exchange that achieved some or all of the objectives of Experiences Canada’s Youth Exchanges Canada program listed below: Enhanced the knowledge and understanding of Canada among Canadian youth, with a specific focus on Canadian History. Canadian history and heritage content is considered to be any activity that encourages youth to learn about, gain knowledge of, or experience; i) significant events, places, people, or artifacts from Canada’s past (history); and/or ii) accounts of the diverse traditions that have had, and still have, an influence on the lives of Canadians (heritage).