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The Toronto Waterfront Marathon Initiative

Saturday, 02 March 2019

The Toronto Waterfront Marathon Initiative

The Toronto Waterfront Marathon Initiative
Each year in October an international Marathon race takes place in Toronto attracting thousands of athletes (“Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon”). The Consulate General of Greece in Toronto (CG), in partnership with the Hellenic Canadian Academic Association of Ontario (HCAAO) and the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) are establishing a new Toronto Waterfront Marathon Initiative, which will include a Marathon Essay Contest followed by a Wreath Ceremony leading up to the Toronto Waterfront Marathon Race.

The Marathon Essay Contest

HCAAO has formed a Marathon Educational Committee with the mandate to organize a Marathon Essay Contest, in which students will be asked to write an essay on the historical and social significance of the Battle of Marathon. Students in Grades 9-12 who are studying one or more of the following subject areas are eligible to participate:

•    Health and Physical Education (Grades 9-12 Healthy Active Living Education); 
Introductory Kinesiology (Grade 12)
•    Social Sciences and Humanities (Grade 11 World History to the End of the
15th Century; Grade 11 Introduction to Anthropology, Psychology and
Sociology; Grade 12 Challenge and Change in Society)
•    Classical Studies (Grade 12 Classical Civilization)

Educational material including a power point presentation, notes and instructions on the objectives, format and timelines of the essay contest will be available to all TDSB high schools during Greek Heritage Month, as well as to all other schools in Ontario, upon request. The presentation is focused on the origin of the Marathon race in honour of Pheidippides and other Athenian soldiers who ran 42 km from Marathon back to Athens to announce the victory and protect the city of Athens itself demonstrating the power of the human mind and civic responsibility. Teachers who are interested in engaging students in the essay contest can use the presentation to initiate discussion in their classes. For more information, and additional assistance and resources, they can also contact the selected Marathon ambassadors listed below.

Students will be invited to participate in the essay contest and will have approximately one month to submit their essay to through their teacher to the Marathon Educational Committee (see details below).

Topic: The meaning of the Marathon race in contemporary societies

Objective: Students are invited to consider the meaning of the Marathon race in contemporary societies. The Marathon race itself stands as an appropriate symbol of incredible human effort and mental strength. Furthermore, the initiative aims to demonstrate the close link of the Marathon to the essential values of “Olympism”: excellence, respect and friendship. The promotion and development of these values through the Marathon contribute not only to the lifelong enjoyment of sport, but also to the education of the whole human being.

Language: English

Format: 3 pages max, 12 point font, double spaced.

Submissions: Essays should be submitted in Word format. All outside sources must be appropriately cited. Essays are to be submitted to the adjudication committee by April 30, 2019 via email to:

Awards: The Committee will adjudicate the essays to select one top essay per grade (Grades 9-12). Winners and runner-ups will be announced via email to all participating schools by the end of the academic year. The four winners will be recognized with a monetary award during the Toronto Waterfront Marathon Wreath Ceremony in October. The monetary award is $1,000 for each winner and is offered by the Hellenic Heritage Foundation. To receive the award, the essay contest winners are expected to attend the inaugural Wreath Ceremony at the ROM on October 15, 2019.

The runner-ups will receive an honorary certificate mailed to the school. The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon will also offer up to 100 students the opportunity to participate in the “5K run”, which is held in conjunction with the Toronto Waterfront Marathon. Teachers should also inform students and parents that winning essays will be posted/published on the sponsoring partner websites with appropriate acknowledgements.

The Toronto Waterfront Marathon Wreath Ceremony

Each year, olive branch wreaths from the area of Marathon in Greece will be offered to the first-place winners of the Toronto Waterfront Marathon. Wreaths will be given to the race winners at the Award Ceremony on race day, along with their medals.  The 30th Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon will take place on Sunday, October 21, 2019.

Leading up to the Toronto Waterfront Marathon, a Wreath Ceremony (with media and selected dignitaries) will take place at the ROM, the custodian of Canada’s largest and most important collection of Greek art and culture, on Tuesday, October 15, 2019 at 9:00 a.m.  The essay contest winners will be asked to confirm their attendance two weeks in advance of the October 15, 2019 Wreath Ceremony date. Should a student be unable to attend the ceremony, they may be asked to forfeit their prize, in which case the prize will go to the runner-up.

Marathon Ambassadors

The Marathon ambassadors are graduate students of classical studies from the University of Toronto. They have provided the power point presentation and are available to assist.

Rachel Dewan ( ) is an archaeologist, runner, traveller, and current PhD candidate in the Graduate Department of Art at the University of Toronto. Prior to her doctoral work in Toronto, Rachel received a Master of Studies in Classical Archaeology from the University of Oxford, and a BA in Near Eastern and Classical Archaeology from Wilfrid Laurier University. Her dissertation research focuses on the art and archaeology of Minoan Crete, but her academic interests are wide-ranging, from Classical history to Near Eastern archaeology to cultural heritage preservation. Outside of academia, Rachel is an avid runner and marathoner who finds constant inspiration in the legacies of the ancient peoples she studies.

Tia Sager ( ) is a PhD candidate in the Department of Art at the University of Toronto. Her research is focused on Aegean Bronze Age architecture and urbanism under the supervision of Professor Carl Knappett. She holds a BA from the University of British Columbia and an MPhil in classical archaeology from the University of Oxford, where her dissertation focused on Postpalatial architecture on Crete. She has excavated at several archaeological sites in Greece and is currently trench supervisor at Sissi on Crete where she supervises the excavation of a Bronze Age cemetery area.

Tatiana Thoennes ( ) is a Masters student in Art History at the University of Toronto after having graduated from the University of Toronto with a specialist in the History of Art and a major in Renaissance Studies. She has excavated at the archaeological site of Sissi on Crete in 2017 and participated in a study campaign of the Palace and Landscape at Palaikastro Project (PALAP) in 2018. Tatiana is interested in the intersection of Aegean Bronze Age and Early Modern visual art. Her research focuses on the transmission of art objects from the Aegean Bronze Age to the kunstkammer (or cabinet of curiosities) of the Early Modern Period across Europe. Though she has very specific academic interests, her enthusiasm for art history and archaeology is temporally, geographically, and materially widespread.

For more information please contact the