Hedley’s Jacob Hoggard waxes lyrical on the True North strong and free.
By Sarah Fox
Photography by Gilda Furgiuele
Hailing from Vancouver, B.C., Jacob Hoggard is full of Canadian pride. The laid-back vibes of his hometown has the Hedley frontman swooning over everything from its geography to its multiculturalism. “Vancouver represents so much of what makes me proud to be a Canadian,” Jacob says. His adoration for the city stretches from the top of sky-high mountains down to one of his favourite foods, “meatball sandwiches.”
In Jacob’s perspective, Canada is already all-star, but like everything, there’s always room for improvement. This year, as the country marks its 150th, the musician is hoping Canadians will seize the anniversary as an occasion to commit to national growth—in the hearts and minds category, that is.
When speaking of Jacob’s ideal Canada, there are two things you can expect to hear passionate discussion about. The first is taking care of all the country’s people by fostering a more inclusive attitude; the second is protecting the land we live on by respecting the environment.
Stepping beyond 150 years, Jacob hopes Canada will continue to act globally on both of these issues, while reminding his fellow Canucks to keep their finger on the local pulse, as well.
“In first world Canada, there are still Canadians that live their lives without access to pure drinking water,” he points out. “As often as we hear about the importance of helping people around the world, it is our duty as Canadians to make sure that nobody is left behind.”
To achieve this, Canadians—young and old—must take the lead in their own communities.
For Jacob, this has meant fighting on the side of fundamental human rights and the environment, a challenge he first took on back in 2003 when co-founding Hedley.
After noticing how other notable bands were able to positively influence public conversation around socio-political issues, the lead singer—alongside his friends/bandmates—realized the difference they could make through their celebrity.
Not long after the band reached success (which has included a flurry of JUNO wins and nominations over the years), Jacob broadened his passion in music to incorporate a healthy dose of charity work.
Speed through Hedley taking its strong youth following and joining forces with WE Charity to shape the next generation of change-makers and you’ve got Jacob Hoggard: superstar WE ambassador.
With over six years past since the recording artist first got involved with WE, Jacob’s vigor for doing good has deepened—this year with a special focus on how we can bring a global approach to bettering Canadian communities. “It is our responsibility as a globally-minded country to never forget to also act locally—to be present and accountable inside our own backyard.”
Read on to learn why Jacob believes Canadians need to keep pushing the limits of their understanding and openness, as we work together to build a more caring and compassion country.
Why is “we” stronger than “me?”
Because “W” is a historically superior letter to “M”… “we” is stronger than “me” for the same reason that two heads are better than one. The potential and capability of a common consensus has the ability to shift global consciousness. Outside of the obvious superiority in numbers, the potential to change the way a generation looks at the world lies within our ability to succeed as a community.
Fill in the blank: Moving forward into the next 150 years, our country needs more [blank] in order to build a caring and compassionate Canada.
When we look at issues we face within our communities and society, a prevailing conflict seems to be our ability to understand each other. Whether it’s reconciliation with Indigenous people of Canada, or the extremely polarizing views Canadians share on immigration and refugees, our ability to better understand each other will make a world of difference.
Describe the core values of your ideal Canada.
Unity, diversity and the freedom to question the status quo with the intention of always pushing the limits of our understanding and openness.
What small action have you taken in present day to help secure a brighter future for our country tomorrow?
My personal passion for preserving the beauty and sacred importance of our environment has always been dear to me, and as a result, supporting clean water initiatives—both locally and globally—has always been a cause I believe in.
Nominate one person you believe is working to positively change the future of Canada.
I have had the privilege of spending time with many young Canadians that are actively making a positive change in our communities, locally and globally. I was blessed to have the opportunity to meet one individual in particular, Hani AL Moulia, who has devoted his very unique photography ability to the cause of illuminating the current refugee crises in the Middle East, as well as its effects on us at home. What makes Hani all the more interesting is that even though Hani puts life in war torn Syria into perspectives through striking and personal photos, Hani is legally blind.
What’s one action you would like people to take in order to build a better country?
Personally, I would like to see Canadians challenge their own ways of thought. It’s easy to feel safe, it’s much more difficult to live and think outside of our comfort zones…. outside of the way we’ve been taught to think and believe. Only through a true understanding of each other—and life as a dynamic and ever changing tapestry—can we begin to accept life with love and open mindedness.