My Continent Boxes were a gift from a colleague. The Elementary Guide I was working with at the time had a marvelous collection of homemade Continent Boxes. She was a world traveler and had collected over her 30 year career a large array of items from different countries around the world. I was always popping into her classroom to admire the Divinci flying machine she had made herself and hung from the rafters. She was relentlessly interesting to me. Having been trained by Mario in Italy so many years ago she held for me a certain reverie of times past. She also had a real knack for making me suspicious of what she was up to. One day she popped into my classroom carrying a stack of coloured cardboard boxes and placed them down on one of the tables. She exclaimed, “I’ve had these for long enough, it’s time I shared them with someone else”. I thought, “me?”. Then she left without either of us speaking another word.

I opened up every box. After touching and thinking about every item I put everything neatly away and then for a time I pondered taking it all home to keep for myself. Of course I didn’t do that. The next day one of the items from Japan was hung on the wall next to our little library, and the boxes were neatly stacked directly below the picture for the children to access at will. I did tell a number of children who I thought would be less than careful, “I don’t think you are really ready for this work, maybe another time?”, and left it for the third years to use while still watching like a hawk from a distance. Oh I appreciated them, and dare say I thought the world of her.

Well, here is a new twist on those wonderful Continent Boxes my esteemed colleague gave to me so many years ago. I call it the Country Box, more specifically The Canada Box. The box itself I picked up second hand and discovered months later that it had been made by Clarence A. Wells, a well known contemporary First Nations artist and carver from British Columbia. The contents of the box are a mish mash of items picked up over time or made recently that I think might be fun and interesting to the child admiring them, things indicative of Canadian culture, souvenirs, photos, crafts…. Of course your box could me made as you see fit, with the things you hold dear about our beautiful sovereign nation. (I almost printed the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to place inside and thought it might be a bit long) Here are some photos of the contents as well as a list of the items found inside. What’s in your Canada Box?

  1. Spindle with different coloured fine thread
  2. Miniature Ice skate
  3. Photo Album with photos and written descriptions
  4. Canadian Flag
  5. Canada Flag patch for backpackers
  6. Stone carving of a Beaver
  7. 13 Provinces Classified Cards set with labelled bag.
  8. Canadian currency, set of coins and coin bag.
  9. Pure Canadian Maple Syrup
  10. A dream catcher (that is too big to fit inside the box)
  11. A collection of Canadian Wild life figurines with labels (need more of these)
  12. Hand made wooden Inukshuk
  13. A Remembrance Day Poppy pin
  14. A Canada 150 year anniversary flag sewn out of felt
  15. I’d also like to have a pressed Maple Leaf however need to wait until summer to create this.