Ocean Week Canada is nationally coordinated by the Canadian Ocean Literacy Coalition (COLC) project office. COLC is an alliance of organizations, networks, institutions, and communities working together to better understand and advance ocean literacy in Canada.
On March 16, 2021, COLC launched Land, Water, Ocean, Us: A Canadian Ocean Literacy Strategy. There are 9 action areas outlined to advance ocean literacy in Canada over the course of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030). Action Stream #4 is dedicated to growing Ocean Week Canada. Learn more and read the National Strategy.
Ocean Week Canada was inspired by local Ocean Week events and initiatives.
For example, watching and learning from the amazing efforts of Oceans Week Halifax, co-founded by Mo Phung and Alexandra Vance in 2016. By 2019, OWHFX had grown to 40 events over 10 days. Other cities were taking note.
In 2020, Semaine des Oceans QC was launched by Organisation Bleue with events taking place in Montreal and along the St. Lawrence. Ocean Week Victoria was also launched in 2020.
In turn, COLC convened a team in the spring of 2021 with representatives from across the country to co-design an Ocean Week Canada pilot. That June, 22 virtual (due to pandemic) national events took place, attended by over 20,000 people in Canada, and viewed by over 100,000 post-event. From there, COLC spearheaded a $2.3M grant to launch Ocean Week Canada in 2022 and the Ocean Festival (unique to 2022) in the lead up to Canada hosting IMPAC5. The initiative exploded with over 200 events and more than 675,000 people participating across Canada.
The success of Ocean Week Canada and the Ocean Festival 2022 is a direct result of the enthusiasm and commitment of 158 event hosts and 111 supporting event partners. Learn more about the 2022 impact.