My First Time in Canada

More stories from Herbert McCullough

From March 27-30, I attended the 60th Annual International Studies Association Convention in Toronto, Ontario, Canada at the Sheraton Center and the Hilton near Nathan Phillip Square.

Only one professor and one student attended this year’s ISA Convention. This included myself and Linda Veazey, associate professor and interim political science chair. While last year’s convention held 5,787 participants, this year’s convention held 6,020 participants.

I travelled to Toronto March 24 to properly prepare for the convention. Like many student participants, instead of staying at the Sheraton Center or the Hilton, I stayed at Hi Toronto Hostel.

While practicing my two presentations, I visited the Hockey Hall of Fame, the CN Tower and Niagara Falls. Thursday March 28 at 8 a.m. I presented a poster about a famous court case,  Canada v. Ishaq, where a Pakistani immigrant challenged a niqab ban in Canada, at the Junior Scholar Symposium labelled “Women, Gender and Human Rights”.

I was also able to find some free time, including visits to the Royal Ontario Museum, Chinatown, Little Italy, the Ontario Legislative Assembly, Church and Wellesley and a Toronto FC game. On March 30 Veazey and I have presented a comparative paper comparing religious freedom in Canada and state secularism in France on a panel called State and Religion: From State Policies to Religious Governance. I gave the last words at the panel, using a quote from President Clinton: “In a world darkened by ethnic conflicts that tear nations apart, Canada stands as a model of how people of different cultures can live and work together in peace, prosperity, and mutual respect.”

I left Canada March 31. As someone who loves Canada and Canadian culture, I have never visited Canada in my life until that week and will forever be one of the best experiences in my life.