“Just inside the top of the sound hole here, is Pierre Trudeau’s canoe paddle” explains Jowi Taylor, as he points to the inside of the remarkable guitar in his arms.
“There’s some nephrite jade from the Northwest corner of BC.
“The top of Paul Henderson’s stick from the 1972 Canada/Russia series
“Little bit of gold from Rocket Richard’s 1956 Stanley Cup ring
“And the whole top of this guitar is the only piece taken from the legendary Golden Spruce on Haida Gwaii.”
The guitar is named Voyager.
It was the vision of Jowi Taylor, who wanted to create something that represents Canada.
“This was intended to be a conversation starter, and the idea to build a guitar that would contain many, many stories from all across the country, from different cultures and communities and perspectives.”
And Voyager is resonating as Jowi tours the country to share the guitar’s story, in a presentation known as Six String Nation.
“I’ve been to every province and territory of Canada” Jowi explains.
“It doesn’t matter where I go, somebody will identify with something in the guitar.”
The Victoria Foundation sponsored Jowi Taylor’s visit to a number of Greater Victoria schools.
“Everybody is just taken away by this presentation, so it’s a terrific opportunity” explains Victoria Foundation CEO, Sandra Richardson.
“If you look at the arts, and the role that they play for young people, it just becomes another way to tell a very dynamic story” she adds warmly.
Our CHEK camera caught the Six String Nation presentation to Colquitz Middle School, where three students had the honour of playing Voyager.
“It’s an amazing guitar” says Grade eight student Theo Zaalberg.
“I love history, so it was really fun to hold it and know about it, you know?”
Colquitz principal Gord Mitchell says “we’ve got a wonderful fine arts program, and a lot of our kids are into music and other things, so we’re really excited to have a musical presentation this morning.”
“There is something of us collectively that is spoken about, and to, in this project” says Jowi, “and they resonate with it just like everyone else.”