55 Parallels celebrates the ties that bind the United Kingdom and Canada. Our partnership is a global force for good, which enriches the lives of our people and nations. 55 Parallels tells the stories of our people, our shared values and thirst for innovation.


The 55th parallel binds our nations together across the Atlantic Ocean, passing through a diversity of Canadian and British lands, characteristic of the breadth of our relationship.

Each week for the next 55 weeks we will tell you a story of how Canadian and British people work together to make us all safer, more secure, more prosperous, and discover more about the world around us.

In August the Red Arrows, one of the world's premier aerobatic display teams, will celebrate 55 years of aerial displays with a Canadian tour. In early 2020 we'll also mark the 55th anniversary of Canada's flag.

United, a force for good

As the only two members of all the G7, the G20, the Commonwealth, Five Eyes and NATO; the UK and Canada have a long and proud history of working together to confront today's global challenges, protect freedoms and build resilient futures.

On air, land and sea.

From space to deep below the Earth's surface, great innovation relies on international collaboration. Canada and the United Kingdom make natural scientific and commercial partners.

Credit: ESA/NASA

Credit: ESA/NASA

For everyone.

For many, the ties between Canada and the UK are personal. Millions of Canadians trace their family history back to the UK. Today, thousands more travel between our two countries to work, discover and sometimes, to stay.

Credit: Visit Britain

Credit: Visit Britain

11. The 100th Anniversary of the Government Communications Headquarters

No doubt, you’ve heard of the Enigma Machine, Alan Turing, and the code-breaking women of Bletchley Park. But it wasn’t such a long time ago that the history of British Signals Intelligence and the organisation responsible for it, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), remained a tightly guarded state secret. Founded in the aftermath of the First World War, GCHQ now celebrates its 100th anniversary in a very public fashion.

The Five Eyes Partners meeting in London in late July 2019. Credit: Home Office

The Five Eyes Partners meeting in London in late July 2019. Credit: Home Office

In our podcast this week, Three Questions & A Cuppa Tea, we welcome Tony Comer, GCHQ Historian since 2009. Tony joined GCHQ as a Spanish & Portuguese linguist in 1983. He spent most of his career working on support to UK and allied military, and was UK Representative on the NATO Signals Intelligence Committee for six years. Join us, as Tony talks about the history of the organisation and the key role Canada continues to play, since the Second World War, in ensuring our mutual security as a Five Eyes partner. 

Credit: GCHQ

10. Canadian Conifers and the Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru

Now try saying that ten times fast!

2019 marks the 20th anniversary of the Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru, or the Welsh National Assembly. Its democratically elected representatives, referred to as Assembly Members or Aelodau’r Cynulliad in Welsh, legislate and represent the interests of the Welsh people.

Since 2006, the body has convened under a roof constructed largely of Western Red Cedar sourced from the sustainable forests of British Columbia. Follow the link to learn more about Canada's contribution to the Welsh Senedd's sleek, environmentally responsible design.

Credit: westgateit.co.uk

Credit: westgateit.co.uk

9. Breakfast on the Bridge

Each year, the iconic Peace Bridge in Calgary transforms from a walking bridge into a "restaurant'' for Breakfast on the Bridge. This year, the 5th annual breakfast took on a British theme. Breakfast on the Bridge recognizes the great work the Calgary Military Family Resource Centre does and this year, highlighted the importance of the UK and Canada relationship.

The UK's Permanent Representative to NATO, Sarah MacIntosh, was the guest of honour this year. She highlighted key areas on why the relationship between the UK and Canada is just as important now as it was in the past. We then asked members of the Canadian and UK military to share why the UK and Canada relationship is so important for our future.

8. A Veteran Serving Veterans

The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and the Royal Air Force (RAF) share a deeply intertwined history and an enduring relationship. Andrew Carswell's life of service in the RCAF exemplifies this connection.

In May 1941, Andy was recruited by the RCAF as part of the greater war effort. After more than a year of training in Ontario and England, Carswell was flying joint RCAF-RAF missions over Germany alongside his Canadian and British brothers-in-arms.

Carswell’s career with the RCAF has been varied to say the least, from being taken as a prisoner of war, to earning a Distinguished Flying Cross from Queen Elizabeth II for his search-and-rescue work.

Andy's service to his countrymen continues to this day. He and his son have partnered with the Multifaith Housing Initiative to establish Veterans’ House, an affordable housing community for homeless veterans “living rough” in Ottawa. Learn more about Andy’s life and his commitment to helping fellow veterans:

Follow the link to learn more about the enduring ties, history, and traditions that bind the RCAF and RAF.

7. Happy Canada Day

Every year on the first of July, Canadians get together to celebrate their country. With the UK and Canada sharing strong historical and cultural ties, we wanted to highlight what our staff love most about living and working in Canada.

Take a look at what our UK in Canada leadership team has to say!

6. The Face of CBC

Credit: The Globe and Mail

Credit: The Globe and Mail

A British-born Canadian icon, Peter Mansbridge was the face of CBC News for nearly 30 years. As the chief correspondent and lead anchor of The National from 1988 to 2017, he won 12 Gemini Awards for broadcast excellence.

In our new podcast Three Questions & A Cuppa Tea, we sat down with Peter to discuss his memories of the United Kingdom, the stories behind some of his favourite interviews and the fight for media freedom. Have a listen:

5. Welcome to Earnscliffe

Once every spring, the Canadian capital's most prestigious addresses welcome members of the general public onto their grounds during Doors Open Ottawa, an annual architectural event celebrating the city's built heritage.

This year, British High Commissioner Susan Le Jeune d'Allegeershecque participated by greeting guests at her historic residence, Earnscliffe. Hear what they had to say about their intimate connections to the residence and the United Kingdom:

4. A Canadian Literary Legend

Credit: maragretatwood.ca

Credit: maragretatwood.ca

A Canadian literary icon and one of the most important and influential writers alive today, Margaret Atwood is one of the 2019 Canadian recipients of the Order of the Companions of Honour.

The Companion of Honour is a special award granted to those in the Commonwealth who have made a major contribution to the arts, science, medicine or government.

In our brand new podcast Three Questions & A Cuppa Tea, we were thrilled to sit with Margaret Atwood to discuss her nomination, her experience living in the UK and the future before us. Have a listen:

3. The 100-Year-Old British Canadian Scientist

Born in the United Kingdom, Dr. Brenda Milner is one of the world’s most renowned scientists known for her pioneering work on the brain. She has had an extraordinary influence on the development of neuroscience and on the work of scientists around the globe.

At 100 years old, Dr. Milner, neuroscientist, and professor at McGill University, continues to explore the mysteries of the brain at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital — The Neuro.

This is the story of her journey to Canada, and what she learned along the way.

Check out our interview from 2018 where Dr. Milner gave advice to young women interested in STEM.

Video: Montreal Neuro

2. Powering Past Coal

By May 08, 2019, for the first time since the Industrial Revolution, the United Kingdom had gone a whole week without using coal for power! The UK is phasing out coal entirely by 2025, and is on a path to become the first major economy to legislate for net zero emissions.

Together with Canada, we are leading the rest of the world in committing to an end to the use of unabated coal power through the Powering Past Coal Global Alliance.

Launched by the UK and Canada in November 2017, this is an alliance of nations and states committed to moving the world from burning coal to cleaner power sources.

The members of the alliance commit to taking action such as setting coal phase out targets, committing to no further investments in coal-fired electricity in their jurisdictions or abroad. The new coalition will work with businesses, civil society and governments to offer technical and practical help to accelerate the transition away from coal.

Learn more at: https://poweringpastcoal.org/about

1. The World's Oldest Rock

Working with the Geological Survey of Canada, British geologist Owen Weller flew across and trekked the rugged terrain of Baffin Island – the largest island in Canada and the fifth largest island in the word – to unravel the history of the bedrock and create new, detailed maps of some of the most mysterious areas of the eastern Canadian Arctic.