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Vancoufur has a proud history of choosing themes that reflect the city and country that we live in here in Vancouver, Canada. From celebrating all of Canadiana in our first year, with hockey and lumberjacks and winter wonderlands galore, to last seasons mighty Rocks and Rails tipping its hat to our Provinces history.

This year we celebrate what our city has become. Modern Vancouver is regarded as one of the most multicultural cities in the world. We sit on the brim of the Pacific Rim, and have daily interactions with countries dotted around this great body of water. We have the 3rd largest port on the West coast of North America. Our city has become the Gateway to trade, immigration, tourism and the rest of the countries that share the Pacific Ocean.

"Gateway to the Pacific" celebrates both the incredible diversity in our city as well as how we connect with many of the great countries on the Pacific Rim.

From now until the Convention we will be celebrating one country on the Pacific Rim each month, sharing with you stories of its citizens and how they and their country have become connected with ours.

We hope you'll join us as we sail beneath Vancouver's iconic Lions Gate bridge, and into the waterways of the Pacific to celebrate our diversity and learn about the people and lands that we share this amazing part of the world with.

VancouFur 2014 - Gateway to the Pacific


JUNE - The United States of America

United States of America

We start of our celebrations with our closest neighbour and ally right down the coast - the USA.

Relations between the US and Canada have spanned more than two centuries and have formed the basis of one of the most stable and mutually beneficial international relationships in the modern world.

Together we have formed the worlds largest trading partnership, share the worlds longest (and undefended) border, and share on the defence of the continent we live together on. We have battled wars together, and have become a world model on how 2 different lands can interact with peace and respect to mutually benefit each others prosperity.

Canada is regularly polled as the favourite international country of the USA's populous and we are each others major tourism destinations.

We share the Pacific Rim with the USA's West Coast, Including Alaska, Washington State, Oregon and California. Hawaii, with its place in the middle of the Pacific, is a major tourist destination for people in Canada - especially from areas on our West Coast like Vancouver. In Hawaii, Canada also shares scientific endeavours with the USA and France as a co-operator of the CFH Telescope in Kamuela

We believe JFK put it best when he said:

"We are allies. This is a partnership, not an empire. We are bound to have differences and disappointments--and we are equally bound to bring them out into the open, to settle them where they can be settled, and to respect each other's views when they cannot be settled."

"Thus ours is the unity of equal and independent nations, co-tenants of the same continent, heirs of the same legacy, and fully sovereign associates in the same historic endeavor: to preserve freedom for ourselves and all who wish it. To that endeavor we must bring great material and human resources, the result of separate cultures and independent economies. And above all, that endeavor requires a free and full exchange of new and different ideas on all issues and all undertakings."

"...it is clear that in an age where new forces are asserting their strength around the globe--when the political shape of the hemispheres are changing rapidly-nothing is more vital than the unity of the United States and of Canada."

"Geography has made us neighbours. History has made us friends. Economics has made us partners. And necessity has made us allies. Those whom nature hath so joined together, let no man put asunder. " - http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=8136



JULY - Mexico (The United Mexican States)


Canada and Mexico have a relatively young relationship. The two countries didn't interact very much prior to 1944 when, like many other countries, the two became allies during World War Two.

Since that time, relations were still quiet, with Canada and Mexico sitting in different positions during the Cold War. It wasn't until 1994, with the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) have the two become more intertwined. They are now integral strategic partners in areas such as trade, the environment and continental security. The two countries have also developed a history of supporting each other in dealings with the neighbouring USA to strengthen their bargaining position. Canada and Mexico are now among each other’s largest trading partners with more than 2500 Canadian companies currently operating in Mexico. Some 1.8 Million Canadians visit Mexico every year, supporting their strong tourism industry and becoming the 2nd most visited destination for Canadians behind the USA. Over 50 000 Canadians reside in Mexico on either a Full or Part-Time basis. Canada welcomes over 130 000 Mexican visitors annually and over 10 000 Mexican students study in Canadian schools each year.

This months website Banner, shown above, has been drawn for us by IceBanshee on FA, who is proudly of Mexican decent: https://www.furaffinity.net/user/icebanshee/

"VancouFur 2014 is celebrating the diversity and connection to many great countries across the Pacific Rim and is holding the "Gateway to the Pacific". This image is meant to be the poster for Mexico, land of mysticism and magic, a land of warriors, and a land from which I proudly come from.

For this image I decided to go for a more mature look instead of my most frequent ''anime furs''. Its something I had meant to do for a while now and Im quite happy with the result. I really hope you all like it!"

--Ice Banshee

August - Singapore


Did you know Canada and Singapore share an Olympic year? In 2010, Canada welcomed the world to Vancouver for the Olympic Games. That same year, Singapore held the Youth Olympic Games. This months artwork by Zephyron celebrates those games and its Olympic connection to our city. "I enjoyed it. It was a breath of fresh air, and it's nice to see the limited interaction involved that's friendly instead of the usual hostilities. My inspiration was the good memories."

Canada and Singapore share a relationship on many levels, including the promotion of economic growth, good governance, promotion of democracy, regional stability and security. Our cooperation also extends to confidence building and preventive diplomacy as well as the reduction of trade restrictions. The two countries share membership in many international forums such as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the World Trade Organization (WTO) and with dialogue through the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and the security-oriented ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF).

In the field of defence and security, areas of cooperation include pilot training, maritime security, non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and counter-terrorism.

As both Singapore and Canada have diverse populations that represent a range of cultural values, customs and perspectives, the two countries pursue an open dialogue and exchange of ideas on policies and programs related to pluralism and multiculturalism.

Canada and Singapore also enjoy strong people-to-people links. These ties are enhanced by the thousands of Singaporean students who have elected to study in Canada, the many Canadians who reside in Singapore, and the 83,000 Canadians that visit the city-state every year.

Singapore is an important regional trade partner for Canada and is Canada's third largest export market in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Singapore is a member of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade negotiations, which Canada and Mexico formally joined in October 2012.

As a major Asian gateway, Singapore is important in the context of Canada’s Asia-Pacific Gateway Corridor Initiative. Singapore offers a diverse array of commercial, research and development opportunities for Canadian firms and investors and is well-placed for Canadian companies intending to do business with Southeast Asia, China and India.

September - Panama


The two countries established diplomatic relations in 1961. Canada has an embassy in Panama City which was opened in 1995. Prior to that date, the resident Canadian ambassador in Costa Rica has concurrent accreditation in Panama. Panama has an embassy in Ottawa and general consulates in Montreal, Toronto andVancouver. Both countries are full members of the Organization of American States.

Panama is an important partner with respect to Canada’s strategy for Engagement in the Americas and its three goals of increasing economic opportunity in Canada and the hemisphere, strengthening security and advancing freedom, human rights, democracy and the rule of law and fostering lasting relationships across government, business, civil society and communities. 

Canada and Panama have established strong economic ties, and commercial relations continue to expand. Bilateral trade between Canada and Panama was $235.3 million in 2011, representing nearly 62% increase over 2009. Canadian merchandise exports to Panama were $111.2 million in 2011. Of this total, non-agricultural exports included shipments of aircraft, machinery, electrical and electronic machinery, ships, paper, pharmaceutical products, iron and steel products, coins and precious stones and metals, and motor vehicles. Agricultural and agri-food product exports included meat (mostly pork), vegetables (mostly lentils and peas), vegetable preparations (predominantly from potatoes), and fats and oils. In 2011, merchandise imports totalled $124.1 million, up from $40.7 million in 2009. The three-fold increase in imports between 2009 and 2011 was due to an increase in gold imports, which accounted for 91.2% of total imports. Other imports were fruits and nuts (mainly bananas and pineapples), machinery and equipment, fish and seafood, and coffee.

In 2008, Canada and Panama concluded an air transport agreement. This agreement put into place a new, modern framework for scheduled air services between Canada and Panama, consistent with Canada's Blue Sky international air policy. It is another instrument that supports increased commercial and tourist activity between our two countries.

October - Australia


The earliest, most notable connections between the two nations was the deportation of Canadian rebels who instigated an uprising in Upper and Lower Canada to Australia. A total of 154 Canadians from Upper Canadastate prisoners were sent to Australian shores. Those involved in the Upper Canada rebellions, were sent to Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania). There are two monuments in Hobart commemorating the Canadian convict presence in Tasmania. One is at Sandy Bay and the other stands in Prince's Park, Battery Point.

The swirling passions that accompanied the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914 brought the two countries together as allies. Canada plunged into battle alongside Australia and the other overseas dominions. Then again in September 1939, a united Canada hurried to join Australia at Britain's side in World War 2. The war heralded a new era in Canadian-Australian relations and gave the partnership an increasingly important political character.

Neither Canada nor Australia has been to war on its own; rather, they have fought as part of coalitions. The two nations are the most commonly cited examples of middle powers – states that try to pursue their interests through multilateralism and collective security because they are not large enough to act unilaterally.

There are a great many similarities between the countries of Canada and Australia. They are both independent former settler colonies of Britain from which they have inherited many political traditions. Both nations are large, relatively isolated, and sparsely inhabited, and both use federal systems of government and both have Queen Elizabeth II as head of state. Canada, being the first of the British colonies to peacefully gain independence, became a model that was followed first by Australia, and then the other Commonwealth Dominions. Both were also affected by the same events in Britain and around the world: World War I, the creation of the shared monarchy in 1927, the Statute of Westminster in 1931, World War II, and the Cold War had similar effects on both nations. Both nations have been influenced strongly first by the United Kingdom and then United States, both culturally and politically.

November - Japan


Today, Canada and Japan are partners in numerous international groups and organizations including the G8, G20, APEC, the ASEAN Regional Forum, and the OECD. Both Canada and Japan are strongly committed to ensuring continued economic vitality, cooperative political relations, and development in the Asia-Pacific region. Regular exchanges between Canadian and Japanese parliamentarians are another important pillar of the Canada-Japan relationship. The Canada-Japan Inter-Parliamentary Group, established by Parliament in 1989, and its Japanese counterpart, the Japan-Canada Diet Friendship League, have held annual consultations since 1989, alternating the location of the meetings between the two countries. The latest session was held in Tokyo in May 2012 and included discussions of trade and economic policy, fiscal and administrative reform, energy and environmental issues, and regional security.

Trade and economic relations between Canada and Japan have been steadily expanding. With a gross domestic product of C$5.8 trillion, Japan is the world's third largest national economy and one of Canada's most important economic and commercial partners. Japan is by far Canada's largest bilateral foreign direct investment (FDI) partner in Asia. Japan's FDI in Canada totalled C$12.8 billion in 2011, coming from approximately 330 Japanese subsidiaries and affiliate companies operating in Canada and employing tens of thousands of Canadians. Canadian investment in Japan is also significant and diverse with about 90 companies that have a permanent Japanese presence, primarily in the automotive, ICT, financial services, and forestry sectors. The stock of Canadian direct investment in Japan in 2011 stood at C$8.4 billion. Japan is also Canada's fifth-largest partner in two-way merchandise trade (second in Asia after China). Canada's exports of goods to Japan totalled C$10.7 billion in 2011 while imports from Japan were C$13 billion. Mineral fuels and oils (mainly coking coal) were Canada's largest exports to Japan, while vehicles and vehicle parts, nuclear machinery, and electrical machinery and equipment were Canada's largest imports from Japan in 2011.

Canada and Japan enjoy rich cultural and people-to-people linkages at many levels. Popular culture exposes Canadians and Japanese to each other's music, films, arts and sports. Japanese "manga" comics have a huge youth following worldwide and have become Japan's main cultural export, while a number of Canadian musicians enjoy a large fan base in Japan. On the academic front, the ties between the two countries are strong and diverse. The Japanese Association for Canadian Studies has for many years played an important role in informing Japanese students about Canada. In addition, the Japan-Canada Academic Consortium, formed in 2006 by a group of prominent universities in both countries, has helped to improve academic exchanges by offering more mobility options for students. Canada is a popular destination for Japanese students interested in studying abroad at all levels of education. Japanese scholars, well respected in Canada, often receive academic awards supporting their education or research at Canadian institutions. Several Canadian universities are home to centres or programmes for the study of Japan. There are also diverse associations in Canada which promote more informal Japanese language and cultural studies.

Finally, a number of programs exist to facilitate people-to-people exchanges. There are 76 sister city/sister province relationships between Japanese and Canadian communities. In addition, some 500 Canadians are currently enrolled in the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme, teaching English in schools across Japan. The Working Holiday Program is also very popular, allowing thousands of Japanese and Canadian youths to enjoy short-term travel and work opportunities in each other's country.


December - Russia

Canada and Russia have a productive relationship as vast, resource-rich northern countries. The two nations address political, economic and northern specific issues within the framework of the United Nations, the G-8, the G-20, the Arctic Council, the NATO-Russia Council and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).

Canada is officially represented in Russia by an Embassy in Moscow, as well as an Honorary Consulate in Vladivostok.

The Russian Federation maintains an Embassy in Ottawa, and consulates in both Toronto and Montréal, as well as an Honorary Consulate in Vancouver.

Canada follows the human rights situation in Russia very closely. A number of human rights developments are of concern, including the recent legislation banning the promotion of homosexuality. These developments are troubling and Canada has raised its concerns directly with Russian authorities. The promotion of Canadian values has been and will continue to be featured prominently in our ongoing dialogue with Russia.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Canada and Russia. As the two largest Arctic countries, Canada and Russia share many common opportunities and challenges. We have a long history of cooperation on issues including science, energy, environmental protection and sustainable economic development. We are working together bilaterally, and at the Arctic Council, which Canada will be chairing in 2013, to protect the environment and create the conditions for sustainable development.

Culture has a high profile in Russia, where a rapidly developing market presents new opportunities for Canadian cultural goods and services. Canada’s cultural relations with Russia are increasingly vibrant. Our artists are gaining popularity in Russia, including Cirque du Soleil, Garou, Diana Krall, Leonard Cohen, Edouard Lock and La La La Human Steps, Robert Lepage and Ex Machina, all of whom had very successful shows in Russia over the past years. Robert Bateman and Bryan Adams attended openings of their exhibits. Angela Hewitt and Marc-André Hamelin both have their dedicated audiences. Marshall McLuhan's centennial was celebrated across the country in 2011. His books alongside those by Margaret Atwood, Douglas Coupland, Mordecai Richler, Jacques Godbout are all translated into Russian. "Poets of Quebec", a most comprehensive anthology of French-Canadian poetry also came out of press in 2011.




January  - The Republic of Chile

Stretching reed-like along the western coast of South America, The Republic of Chile has enjoyed a short but productive history with Canada; one which has been credited with providing Canadian society its first large-scale direct interaction with people from a Latin American nation.  Prior to the 1940s, the two counties held no formal relations, shared little trade, and rarely saw immigration between their states.  When the Second World War broke out, both Canada and Chile sought to consolidate their weak economic positions via commercial treaties and their first exchange of ambassadors.   But by the mid-1950s, this trade had tapered, and over the next thirty years relations between the two countries remained quiet.  It took a military coup d’état to change all that.

In 1973, the longstanding Chilean government was overthrown by a coalition of the armed forces.  Hundreds of thousands of Chileans fled from the regime that followed; their diaspora reaching all the way into Canada.  While the Canadian government reacted cumbersomely and sometimes offensively in responding to the thousands of new arrivals, many ordinary Canadians privately reached out via church groups and citizens organizations to support and settle the refugees. In turn, politically-active Chileans formed their own organizations to help settle later arrivals in their new home; with cities like Toronto and Edmonton becoming host to large Chilean Canadian populations.  These organizations have since become part of numerous groups that now voice concerns behalf of Canada’s Latin American population.  Today, more than 34,000 Chileans call Canada home.

Since the election of progressively democratic Chilean governments in the 1990s, Chile’s relationship with Canada has blossomed.  In 1997, the two countries signed the Canada-Chile Free Trade Agreement; Canada’s first free trade agreement with a South American nation, and Chile’s first free trade agreement ever.  By the end of 2012, CCFTA’s bilateral trade had tripled; with more than $2.5 billion in traded merchandise that year alone.  Canadian exports to Chile include machinery, mineral ores, mineral fuels and oil, electrical and electronic machinery and equipment, and fats and oils; its imports include precious stones and metals, fruits, copper, fish and seafood, and beverages (mostly Chile’s world-renowned wine).  Canadians have invested more than $13 billion in Chilean mining, utilities, chemicals, infrastructure, and financial services; becoming Chile’s single largest source of direct investment between 2002 and 2011.

Curiously, this trade between persons largely from the upper classes of both nations has created an impression among many Chileans that Canada’s population is composed exclusively of white, rich Europeans.  Perhaps in response to this phenomenon, since 2007, Canada and Chile have been pursuing a road map to expanding and deepening their collaboration beyond the economic sphere through the Canada-Chile Partnership Framework.  Canadian and Chilean officials regularly conduct visits to each other’s countries; with Chilean President Sebastián Piñera visiting Ottawa in May 2013.  At the Canadian Embassy in the Chilean capital of Santiago, the Canadian defence relations section actively works with their Chilean counterparts to assess issues of security within Latin America.  Approximately 28,500 Canadians tourists visited Chile in 2011, and Canadians have the option to travel and work in Chile for stays of up to six months.  More than 120 agreements exist between Canadian and Chilean universities, colleges and technical institutes; making Canada among the top foreign study destinations for Chilean post-secondary students.  In 2012, 631 young Chileans traveled to study and work in Canada under the International Experience Canada (youth mobility) program.  In September 2013, the whimsically named “Penguins Without Borders” program brought forty grade-eleven Chilean students to Canada, where they are currently living with families in households across the country and attending Canadian high schools. 

Canada’s relationship with Chile looks to remain prosperous and healthy.


“Chile.”  Centre for Intercultural Learning.  19, Dec. 2013 < http://www.intercultures.ca/cil-cai/overview-apercu-eng.asp?iso=cl>.

“Embassy of Canada to Chile.” 

“Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada.”  Government of Canada.  19 Dec. 2013 <http://www.canadainternational.gc.ca/chile-chili/index.aspx>.

Peddie, Francis.  “Chilean Refugees in Canada and their Long-Term Impact.”  Diálogos intercultural services. Ed. Martin Boyd.  Toronto, Canada,  2007. <http://dialogos.ca/2007/07/chilean-refugees-in-canada-and-their-long-term-impact/>.

Pozo, José del.  “Relations between Chile and Canada during the Second World War. The first experiences of Chilean diplomats.” Trans. Daniela Joana Rubens Flatow. Historia vol.1 no.se, Santiago, 2006 <http://socialsciences.scielo.org/scielo.php?pid=S0717-71942006000100001&script=sci_arttext>.

“Canada-Chile Free Trade Agreement.”

“Chilean Canadian.”  Wikipedia.  19 Dec. 2013 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chilean_Canadian>.


February - Canada

Over the past several months, VancouFur has spotlighted a number of the countries that lie around the Pacific Rim; providing you with some focus upon how those countries have interacted with Canada.  But what about the city from which our convention has derived its name?  What did Vancouver do to earn itself the title “Gateway to the Pacific”?

Well, it went something like this…

Vancouver was literally born out of the Pacific Ocean: Fifteen thousand years ago, during the last ice age, the area lay submerged beneath the ocean’s waters.  With the retreat of the glaciers and formation of the present landscape, archeologists estimate that this land became home to nomadic hunter/gatherer humans that migrated from Russia some ten thousand years ago.  By the time Spanish explorers reached the area in the late 18th Century, these First Nations had built a thriving community of sixty-thousand people living in dozens of villages.  In 1792, two sailing ships from the British Royal Navy lay anchor off the coast, and over a period of twelve days their crews drew up the first cartographic maps of the area; with many of the region’s long-standing names being given by the expedition’s captain: George Vancouver.

However, as the region developed into the colony of British Colombia, what would become the city proper was largely ignored for several decades.  When American prospectors poured into the region during the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush in the 1850s, they bypassed the coast for the interior.  No interest was shown in a settlement until the 1860s, when the first logging camps and townsites were established along Burrard Inlet. But these settlements were expected to be temporary; lasting until the local highly prized timber resources had been felled.  Then in 1871, the colony of British Columbia joined Canadian confederation with the provision that the transcontinental railroad would be extended to the coast.  The western terminus of that railroad needed a deep-water port where ships could berth and sail to British Colonies.  On April 6, 1886, the City of Vancouver was incorporated.  Two months later, the city burned down thanks to an out of control brushfire.  Within twenty-four hours of being reduced to ashes, Vancouverites had started rebuilding their scorched city.  They have not stopped building since.

That Vancouver emerged in the 20th Century as Canada’s “front door” to the Pacific Rim was no accident.  Along the mountainous coastline, it was the only geographically spacious place to build a city of millions. The transcontinental railroad enabled the province’s emerging agricultural, forestry, fishing, and mining industries ready access to the country at large, and a place to headquarter many of their businesses.  The deep waters of Burrard Inlet provided numerous locations to build large seaport facilities.  Today, the Port of Vancouver is Canada’s busiest seaport, trading billions of dollars in shipping annually.  The construction of Vancouver International Airport and its expansion throughout the latter half of the 20th Century furthered Vancouver’s position as a center of both human and material transit.  Put simply, if you were coming to Canada from any place around the Pacific Ocean, you were coming to Vancouver.

Vancouver became a gateway for millions of emigrants entering Canada.  Seeking job opportunities, fleeing war and oppression, and searching for a better life for themselves and their children, the city became home to large populations of Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Filipinos, and Vietnamese; along with emigrants from Africa, Europe, India, Iran, the United States and South America.  Sadly, Vancouverites have not always taken pride in their city’s cosmopolitan character, and at one time or another many of these peoples have endured restriction, exclusion, racism, abuse, and even imprisonment.  But over the decades, these peoples have formed community associations to settle newcomers, campaigned for equal rights, and fought to preserve their cultural and linguistic heritage.  Vancouver is now a city of diversity and inclusion; a mixture of cultural communities, and boasting a social calendar peppered with various cultural festivals and holidays. 

Vancouverites take pride in their accomplishments.  Vancouver is a city of achievements: The first visit by a sitting President of the United States to Canada (Warren Harding in 1923); the first occasion when two humans broke the four-minute mile in a single race (at the 1954 Empire Games); the latest World’s Fair to be held in North America (Expo 86); and the most gold medals won by any country at the Winter Olympics (Vancouver 2010).  With well-developed infrastructure, education, healthcare, and parks and recreation services, it has been consistently named one of the world’s most livable cities.  It has been home to world class architects like Arthur Erikson and Geoff Massey.  It is a center of activism; from environmentalism David Suzuki and the formation of Greenpeace; to the start and finish of Rick Hansen’s 40,000 kilometerMan In Motion World Tour for spinal cord research; to annually hosting the largest Pride Festival in western Canada.  Known as “Hollywood North,” Vancouver houses a number of movie studios; its varied natural and man-made geography allowing the city to stand-in for every place from Baghdad to New York City to Mars.

Scenic and attractive, boasting a sparkling social life and dynamic economy, Vancouver is Canada’s jewel on the Pacific.  Although those of you who are coming to VancouFur may not have many opportunities on your trip to see the city from which we have taken our name, we hope that you will consider returning to this province between conventions to enjoy Vancouver.