96 Canadian Cities Declare June 1 Intergenerational Day Canada
From the cliffs of St.John’s to the surf of Tofino, from Inuvik to Windsor, cities coast to coast to
coast will be encouraging young and old to say hello and get to know each other
better by recognizing June 1st as Intergenerational Day Canada.
For Sharon MacKenzie, Intergenerational Day Canada started 4 years go when the BC
teacher was working on World Elder Abuse Awareness projects with teens. The
success of one project led to an epiphany. “The kids realized that the best way
to stop ageism and mistreatment of people of any age, was to prevent it.
Perhaps a special national day that encouraged building relationships between
younger and older people was the key.” June 1st was chosen because
of its close proximity to UN World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, June 15th.
It was billed as a reminder that there is a solution for mistreatment of all
With the late June Callwood as an early mentor, and thirty years of experience in
the field, Sharon is a major force in intergenerational relations in Canada. In
2009, she won the B.C. Premier’s award for her work in Vernon, BC. She became
the primary researcher and author of three core intergenerational government
resources, linking health and education. Sharon continues to work closely with
agencies and groups in the fight against ageism, always pushing for awareness
of how bridging generations respectfully restores and strengthens community.
As a result of the hard work of Sharon, Executive Director of BC based
Intergenerational Society of Canada (www.intergenerational.ca)
and a small group of volunteers, this 4th annual IG Day Canada
includes a record number of Canadian cities. “We reached out to cities across
Canada and everyone embraced the idea.” says MacKenzie. “The number of Canadian
cities acknowledging this focus day has grown from seven to 87 in just one year
with representation from every province and 2 territories. Four provincial
governments have proclaimed the day as well.”
Intergenerational Day Canada June 1st provides an easy opportunity to raise awareness in classrooms and in
daily life of the many benefits that simple and respectful connections between
generations bring to education, health and community safety. Stereotypes of
both young and older people are broken down when they learn about each other.
Isolation is diminished and empathy grows in both directions. Intergenerational
Day Canada makes a powerful statement about the value of generational
connecting within each and everyone’s neighbourhood.
Sharon adds, “The message is being heard across the nation. It’s time for younger and
older persons to re-connect, stay connected and have fun doing so. As my friend
June Callwood said of our work, ‘This has such a strong ethical base, and so
much compassion. It will, it WILL spread everywhere. It is a great idea whose
time has come.’”
Individuals and families are increasingly mobile in our
country due to work and educational opportunities, making it difficult to
maintain regular contact between generations. Immigration, high costs of travel
and family breakdowns all contribute to shifting social circles which can lead
to isolation and generational disconnect.
Workers often travel in age-related networks, young children
are in primary schools, teens are in high schools, older adults are moving to
retirement communities and seniors homes. We do all of this with an eye to
efficiency of service, but what is our loss in breaking these generational
Intergenerational activities are an untapped resource. They
are rich in personal connections and provide opportunities to practice personal
responsibility and empathy. We spend tax dollars attempting to help isolated
teens, neglected children and disconnected older adults. In many cases these
two generations would solve their own problems just being together, guided by a
respectful and safe plan. Reaching out to one another is a priceless first
Celebration of Intergenerational Day Canada June 1st can be
as simple as giving a smile or a kind word, making a phone call to your
grandmother or saying hello to a skateboarder. Calgary is taking this one step
further with two public events where they are expecting over 900 youth and
seniors to celebrate
Communities across the nation are calling us to action on
June 1st Intergenerational Day Canada. Keep it simple. Be
respectful. Have fun.
For further information or to donate, go to
Intergenerational Society of Canada www.intergenerational.ca