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The Canadian Pavilion

2009. 1 October

The 2010 World Exposition in Shanghai will be the first registered one in a developing country. Officially known as “Expo Shanghai 2010,” it will last 184 days and provide China an opportunity to show off its remarkable economic growth. The expo will also give foreign nations and companies a chance to further develop business partnerships with China and Chinese companies. This is the seventh in an ongoing series that will look at the upcoming expo, from country pavilions to trade development. In this article, we take a look at the Canadian Pavilion.

by Ophelia Wan
( The Canadian Pavilion at world expos has always been a “must-see” among national pavilions, and the Canadian Pavilion at Expo 2010 should be no exception.

In early 2009, the Canadian government formally accepted its 6,000 square meter pavilion lot in the Americas section of Zone C of the Expo site, one of the largest sites at the pavilion. The Canada Pavilion hopes to welcome more than 5.5 million visitors over its 6-month exhibition period and will be a showcase to the world for Canadian culture, advanced technology and urban development.

The creative concept of the design was created by Cirque du Soleil, a major Montréal-based entertainment company, and a household name synonymous with the modern theatrical circus production. Cirque du Soleil is also responsible for organizing the pavilion’s public presentation, producing the cultural program, and developing strategic corporate alliances under the theme, “The Living City: Inclusive, Sustainable, Creative.” The pavilion was designed around an open-air public space as its centerpiece.

The design of the pavilion incorporates a performance area, where visitors can watch performances of Cirque du Soleil before visiting the main pavilion area. The overall budget for the pavilion will be CAD$45 million. The pavilion organizers have also designed concepts of environmental protection into the pavilion. Parts of the pavilion’s exterior walls will be covered by greenery and rainwater will be collected by a drainage system for use inside the pavilion.

The theme “The Living City: Inclusive, Sustainable, Creative,” developed following consultations and interviews across Canada, is a mirror to Shanghai’s Expo 2010 theme, “Better City, Better Life” and reflects Canada’s history and democratic values. The United Nations has recognized several of Canada’s cities for their fine quality of life. At Expo 2010, the Canadian Pavilion will aim to present Canada as a modern, democratic, bilingual, multicultural country.

The Montréal city in Québec Province plans to showcase its Saint-Michel Environmental Complex in the Urban Best Practices Area of the Expo site. The Shanghai Expo invited cities around the world that demonstrate livability, sustainable urbanization, protection and utilization of historical heritages and technological innovation in built environment to display their best practices.

SNC-Lavalin Inc, one of Canada’s best-known engineering and construction companies, is responsible for the construction of the Canadian Pavilion. The pavilion was among the first pavilions to undergo construction at the Expo 2010 site. The Department of Canadian Heritage is coordinating Canada’s participation in Expo 2010 in partnership with the public and private sectors.

China is currently Canada’s fourth-largest export destination (behind the United States, United Kingdom and Japan) and second-largest source of imports worldwide (behind the United States). Total two-way merchandise trade between Canada and China reached CAD$47.6 billion in 2007. Imports from China into Canada grew by an average of 22 percent annually, compared to 11 percent for exports. As a result, a considerable trade deficit has developed between Canada and China.

As Canada’s second largest import trading partner, electrical, electronic and telecommunications equipment, machinery, games, toys and sports equipment were the main goods imported from China. Chinese companies sold CAD$42.6 billion worth of merchandise to Canada last year, up 11.3 percent from 2007. Wood pulp, nickel and organic chemicals are among the top Canadian merchandise exports to China, accounting for 28 percent of total exports in 2007, up from 13 percent in 2003 and 6.7 percent in 1999.

China accounts for 5.5 percent of Canada’s total foreign direct investment stock in the Asia-Pacific region and 0.3 percent of its investment worldwide. Similarly, the stock of Chinese FDI in Canada is modest, but rising, reflecting growing Chinese interest in Canadian resource assets. In 2007, the stock of FDI from China reached CAD$616 million, accounting for 1.9 percent of Canada’s total FDI from the Asia-Pacific region that year.

With an ever-increasing demand for energy, PetroChina, one of China’s largest state-owned oil companies, recently made a US$1.7 billion investment in privately held oil sands in northern Alberta. This investment gives China a 60 percent stake in two undeveloped oil sand projects in northern Alberta.

Expo 2010 in Shanghai will showcase how strategic urban development can help countries offer their citizens a “Better City, Better Life.” The exposition will showcase its vision of urban planning that takes into account the impact on natural resources and the environment. It will also demonstrate how renewing or rebuilding the infrastructure of the past can breathe new life into cities.

For Canada, this will be an opportunity to highlight the country’s expertise in the field of strategic urban planning and in many others. The Government of Canada, along with its provincial, territorial, municipal, and private-sector partners, is always looking for new ways to promote our arts and culture, and share the Canadian model of openness, equality and respect for diversity.