the miles for millions walkathon: canada, 1960


This project seeks to illuminate Canada’s role in international development politics and projects as well as reassess the era in terms of youth activism. The Miles for Millions walkathon emerged as a particularly popular manifestation of the impulse toward international benevolence and what we now refer to as ‘thinking globally’. Launched in the optimism of the Lester B. Pearson years of the mid-60s the walkathon was an expression of a progressive ethos animating politics and social movements, coinciding with a moment when Canadian identity was recreated (not unproblematically) to incorporate global citizenship. The transmission of this ethos to, and its embrace by, youth lie at the centre of the project. Students were swept up in the campaigns to raise money for evolving crises in the developing world as schools endorsed the Miles for Millions fundraiser as a way to teach ‘worldmindedness’ and cultural diversity. The scale and performativity involved in this physical , spiritual, and political gesture to global citizenship fostered a collective understanding of a global social problem that now demands our historical attention.