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What I Think of Culture in Canada

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Culture Days is a celebration of over 7,000 events/activities in over 800 cities and towns across Canada from September 28-30. In anticipation of the festival, organizers asked prominent Canadians to talk about culture and its meaning. The artistic director for the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), Cameron Bailey, had the following to say:

WHAT DOES THE TERM "CULTURE" MEAN TO YOU PERSONALLY? HOW DO YOU DEFINE IT?

Culture is the language we use to connect to other people -- not just verbal language but the language of all our senses, structured to bring us together. For me, everything from music to food to sports to religion to movies and more works on those levels, as culture.

HOW HAS YOUR DEFINITION OF CULTURE SHAPED, INFLUENCED AND/OR ENHANCED YOUR CAREER/LIFE?

It's made me curious. I'm fascinated by the countless ways human beings organize themselves, shape their worlds, express what they see, hear, think and feel through culture. That curiosity makes me want to travel, and also keeps me open to everything new that pops up in my own city.

HOW WOULD YOU SAY CULTURE HELPS TO SHAPE AND/OR ENHANCE THE LIVES OF INDIVIDUALS AND COMMUNITIES?

Culture IS our lives. We can't live without it because it is the shape of how we live. Culture isn't a painting on a wall or a book on a shelf. It's the way of seeing what made that painting, which is the very same process we all use to imagine what our next meal is going to taste like, or remember a kiss, or believe in an idea. Without culture we wouldn't just be animals, we would be meat.