It’s no surprise that a start-up in Canada, in a city that has been dubbed the most diverse city in the world (Toronto), has come up with the first social media platform to facilitate cross-cultural awareness for travellers and the culturally curious. Culture Dock is an idea so obvious, so simple it has people wondering why it hasn’t already been done.
In a celebration of rich cultural diversity, Canadians have begun to upload photos and videos of local culture onto a Culture Dock app, branded specifically for Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation. They may be known for their toques, toonies and two-fours but there’s a lot more going on in the land of moose and maple syrup than stereotypes fed to us in a guidebook. Canadians are coming together by sharing their differences; they’ve made the first move and they want the world to follow their lead.
We all know how friendly Canadians are and that they’re not going to want to keep something like this all to themselves. They’re also crushin’ on cultures of people and places around the world. Now that they’ve begun to show you theirs, they want all of you to show them yours.
This is a free social media app for everyone, including those in the tourism and culture sectors, to share what’s unique about their region of the world. It’s being prepped to become the go-to app for cultural tourism so we’re inviting a second ‘tribe’, that of the global traveler, to also share experiences as they engage in local cultures around the world.
This is the start of a global love affair made less complicated by a user-friendly app that supports the sharing and engagement of content that’s been uploaded onto twelve cultural channels. From whichever country users are in or wishing to travel to, they can explore these topics: Customs and Traditions; Geography and Landmarks; Nature and Wildlife; Holidays and Festivals; Architecture and Design; Literature, Music and Art; Food and Drink; Transportation; Beliefs and Attitudes; Language and there’s probably more to come as the app continues to grow.
Oh, one more thing. It’s our world so let’s face it! Can we get over ourselves and try very hard to leave ourselves out of the picture? We’re urging people to flip the direction of their device’s camera and instead use it to be curious about the world. This isn’t about you, it’s about everyone on this planet and this is the point we wish to make with the Culture Dock app. We don’t believe we’re ever going to begin to understand one another if we’re putting ourselves front and centre, all the time.
Culture Dock – deepening the understanding of people and places around the world.
The irony of arriving back in Banff, to take my travel app for a test drive, isn’t escaping me. The very reason I sought experiences in other countries was to come face to face with customs and traditions different from what I’d known growing up. It’s the same motivation I’ve had for developing an app called Culture Dock, that’s all about understanding regional cultures from around the world, yet here I am… face to face with a culture I’d known, intuitively, my entire life, looking at it in a whole new way.
“What year was ‘The Cliff House built?’ I’m with my dad, atop Mount Norquay. He’s lived in Banff most of his ninety years and has skied the slopes of this mountain since before there were lifts. He picks up a book in the restaurant that sits at an elevation of 2085 m (I know that now) over the town of Banff and opens it to a page where Banff artist Bern Smith, explains it was built in 1952. Norquay was the epicentre of my childhood; it’s what I think of when I think of ‘home’. After lunch, Dad and I spend over half an hour hanging out at the top of what I (and I think most locals) still call the ‘Big Chair’ even though it’s been renamed ‘North American’. We joke with Japanese tourists, take pictures of one another and breathe in the champagne air. I shoot video and take photos of the scenery, something I don’t remember doing before — not ever.
Next, it’s on to The Whyte Museum Of The Canadian Rockies. I recall being about five; meeting Catharine Whyte with my parents in her home that still stands next to the museum. She gave me a small Nakoda Papoose that I wish I’d kept, that I should have cherished. An artist, supporter of the arts and of education in intercultural development, Catharine was the great aunt of my oldest childhood friend and now at fifty, I find myself mesmerized by what she’s given to this town; by the wealth of material in the museum’s archives and the exhibits and events that enhance the mountain experience as much for locals as for tourists. She was a strong supporter of the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity — my next stop.
For a summer my parents managed a pizza joint in the basement of Lloyd Hall at ‘The Centre’. Just a few years later, my Mom, as the executive director of The Banff Television Festival (Banff World Media Festival) had an office on campus. For seventeen years she held this position and I essentially ‘grew up’ with the festival, absorbing the lives of the people who came and went from places around the world not only for the festival but for the many programs and events The Banff Centre offered. Passing by the Leighton Artist Colony, I pay closer attention to the violin music emanating from one of the practice cabins, knowing the space that artist is being given, is life-changing.
I know I didn’t have to see so many other countries to know I come from a special place. Wherever I travelled, I was ‘eager’ to say that I was from Banff and proud when people in almost every city knew of the town I call home. To be a tourist in my hometown, shooting videos and taking photos that I think will communicate something about its heart, has been a very cool experience. I’ve revisited bits of my past but have been able to look at Banff with fresh eyes. It’s been a gift and one that I hope Canadians from across the country will also receive.
The imagiNation 150 app is being gifted to Canada for our 150th anniversary of confederation. As the official app of imagiNation 150, it’s a platform for individual Canadians, and small and medium-size enterprises in culture and tourism, to share what makes their part of Canada unique — an opportunity to show our diverse national character. As part of a larger ‘parent’ app called Culture Dock, anything you, in the Bow Valley, upload onto the imagiNation 150 app is going to be viewed on a global scale as Culture Dock becomes the global go-to app for cultural tourism.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Show us either videos or photos of:
• Wildlife and/or perhaps advice on how to behave around animals in a national park.
• a festival, concert or celebration, taking place.
• A heritage site or landmark that tells us about our history or our natural history.
• a writer, artist or photographer wishing to share your creativity?
• an owner of a restaurant serving locally made goods or dishes Canada is known for?
• an owner of a tourism business that explores regional culture?
• the owner of (or visitor to) a museum or gallery; eager to let other Canadians and visitors to Canada know more about it?
• someone who loves to explore the great outdoors and can show us your favourite local spots or sports you enjoy?
• a new immigrant to the Bow Valley, wishing to show us your impressions of your new home?
• have visitors coming to The Bow Valley who want to share their experiences on the app?
*There really are no hard and fast rules for what we want to see on the imagiNation 150 app. We’re relying on you, to communicate what is unique about mountain culture in the Bow Valley and the people who make it special.
Hi Everyone, Allyson Latta has provided consults for me as I pull together my most recent book. This lover of all things literary is also passionate about photography and has taken a keen interest in Culture Dock. Here’s a guest-blog I wrote for Allyson that pretty much covers the who, what, where, when and why of our upcoming app! You can read it here on allysonlatta.com. Thank-you.
It is a great opportunity to partner with the only social media platform capable of effectively communicating our diverse national identity on a centralized platform. As Canada approaches its 150th birthday, imagiNation 150 looks forward to working with Culture Dock to share our celebration of Canadian culture and identity. Del Simon, Managing Director, imagiNation 150,
Because Culture Dock supports the belief that Canadians proudly come together when our diverse national character is embraced, it is celebrating the imagiNationmovement of “gift giving” by offering an i150 branded app for Canadians to share their multicultural identity in the year leading up to the country’s 150th birthday celebrations. Canadian culture will then be brought to the world stage as the app hits the global travel scene at trade shows and in the global tourism arena.
From the founder of Culture Dock, Kendall Hunter: A partnership with imagiNation 150 is an exciting opportunity to load “The Dock” with videos and images of my home country and to embrace the spirit of cultural understanding that Canadians exemplify. My hope is that it will eventually show the rest of the world what it means to be Canadian, for all Canadians.
It all begins on July 1, 2016 when, for one year, destinations, industry sectors, and Canadian citizens will share their region’s cultural identity through the app’s designated channels. It will conclude on July 1, 2017 as Canadians celebrate, from across the country, on this significant day.
Please explore the website to learn more about the app and to subscribe to Culture Dock as we approach the one year countdown to Canada’s sesquicentennial!
Culture Dock: Social Media With A Destination In Mind
Right now, that destination is the Bow Valley, not only because that’s where the founder is from, and she wants to fill the app with content from her ol’ stomping grounds before it hits the global travel scene, but because it’s a community full of cool and interesting people.
Travellers today are looking for an authentic local experience, wherever they go, and that’s where you come in. We at Culture Dock are looking for people in Banff and Canmore (locals, drop-ins, business owners, visitors) to take our app for a test drive. Photos and videos that you upload on to our designated channels will provide a glimpse into the culture of our region and eventually help visitors (and residents) feel welcome and at home. We’re a social media app with purpose, facilitating cultural understanding around the globe.
Please explore the site to learn more about the app and its feature and email firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to be put on our list of beta testers.