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A drawing of Canada’s World Expo pavilion which is currently under construction in Shanghai.

Canada's cultural offering at World Expo 2010 in Shanghai is starting to assume some of the grandeur characteristic of its producer, Cirque du Soleil.

More than 150 artists will be featured in Canada's themed creation, "The Living City: Inclusive, Sustainable, Creative," the brainchild of Cirque, which signed a partnership with the federal government to produce the event. The Canada Pavilion is expected to draw more than five million visitors, or an average of 30,000 per day over the six-month Expo. The total cost: about $58.5-million.

The lineup of performers, which includes Bedouin Soundclash, Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq, filmmakers Cordell Barker and Denis Villeneuve, Manitoba singer-songwriter Daniel Lavoie and photographer and video artist Scott Connaroe, is expected to be formally announced tomorrow.

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At a "slam poetry/spoken word" event, works by poet Albert F. Moritz will be translated simultaneously between Mandarin and English. And the Red Sky contemporary dance troupe, a critical hit at last summer's Luminato Festival in Toronto for their show Tono, will revise the dance and music creation in Shanghai.

In all, more than 1,000 artists applied through a public call to represent Canada in Shanghai. Cirque staff culled the pool after consulting with the Canada Council for the Arts and the various provincial arts organizations.

While the lineup lacks the splash of big celebrity names - such as Alanis Morissette, who performed at Expo 2005 in Aichi, Japan - both Cirque and Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore are stressing the range of performers represent a huge spectrum of backgrounds, regions and art forms.

"This program is an opportunity to demonstrate the diversity of Canadian artistic forms in a whole new way," said Cirque executive producer Jacques Méthé.

Expo is considered an important diplomatic event for relations with China, and Prime Minister Stephen Harper visited the pavilion, now under construction, during a state visit last month. Cirque du Soleil's direction puts an internationally recognized and respected face on Canada's entry, though at no small cost. The government is paying $13.5-million in fees to Cirque and another $23-million for the building of the 6,000-square-metre pavilion, constructed by Canadian engineering firm SNC-Lavalin.

The cultural program will be headlined by five Cirque-created "celebration performances," which will showcase the chosen artists in large-scale, indoor shows for audiences of upward of 3,000 people.

The pavilion will also host an exhibition of more than 40 contemporary Canadian artists tied to the "Living City" theme. Visitors in the pavilion's "waiting area" will be entertained by screens showing 45 short works by Canadian filmmakers, both established and emerging. And another 60 live performances by Canadians will spill into the nearby Americas Square.

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A further $22-million has been earmarked for accommodation, communication and security, but Canada's entry still looks frugal when compared with France, which is believed to have made the largest financial commitment of the 192 participating countries, pledging $75-million to create its garden-like pavilion.

WHO'S GOING TO EXPO?

More than 150 artists will perform at the Canada Pavilion at World Expo 2010 in Shanghai. Among the highlights are the artists listed below. Or for details on the shows visit www.expo2010canada.gc.ca.

Performing arts:

  • Jamie Adkins - Circus Incognitus
  • Bedouin Soundclash
  • Bob & Bill
  • Gregory Charles
  • Dancers of Damelahamid
  • Mark DeJong
  • Dr. Draw
  • Grand Dérangement
  • Hey Rosetta!
  • Daniel Lavoie
  • Alain Lefèvre
  • Paper Lions Ariane Moffatt
  • MOVE: the company
  • Red Sky Performance
  • Tanya Tagaq
  • Marie-Jo Thério
  • Kreesha Turner
  • Jean-Philippe Tremblay
  • Shane Yellowbird

Visual artists:

  • Cathie Archbould
  • Dominic Besner
  • Peter Boyadjieff
  • Dan Callis
  • Bertrand Carrière
  • Noel Chenier
  • Jack Clark
  • Serge Clément
  • Cam Colclough
  • Magalie Comeau
  • Scott Conarroe
  • Marlene Creates
  • Eric Deis
  • Bruno Gérard
  • Chantal Gilbert
  • Michel Goulet
  • Katia Gosselin
  • Jean Grothé
  • Chun Ping Huang
  • Davida Kidd
  • Janice Kun
  • Patricia Kushner
  • Eric Lajeunesse
  • Jean-François Leblanc
  • Heidi Leverty
  • Dennis Minty
  • Norval Morrisseau
  • Ron Noganosh
  • Alain Paiement
  • Brent Parkin
  • Josée Pedneault
  • Merle Prosofsky
  • Stace and Amanda Pshyk
  • Dave Reede
  • Dionne Simpson
  • Leonard J. Staples
  • Sylvain Tremblay
  • Etienne Saint-Amant
  • Dominik Sokolowski
  • Jean-Sébastien Vaillancourt
  • Robert Walker

Media artists:

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  • Frédéric Back
  • Cordell Barker
  • Martin Berry
  • G. Paquin Boutin
  • Nicolas Brault
  • Jordan Canning
  • Trevor Cawood
  • Millie Chen
  • Cam Christiansen
  • Alison Chung-Yan
  • Claude Cloutier
  • Serene Daoud
  • Powys Dewhurst
  • Marshall Fels Elliott
  • Simon Goulet
  • Eric Gravel
  • Co Hoedeman
  • Chris Lavis and Matthew Szczerbowski
  • Caroline Leaf
  • Maxime-Claude L'Écuyer
  • André Leduc
  • Jean-François Lévesque
  • N&C McInnes
  • Norman McLaren
  • Iriz Paabo
  • Andrea Pass and Dominique Keller
  • Mouvement Perpétuel
  • Ben Philippi
  • Line Severinsen
  • Tali
  • Gayle Thomas
  • Wendy Tilly and Amanda Forbis
  • Theodore Ushev
  • Denis Villeneuve
  • Werner Walcher
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