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As January approaches its end, and after what feels like a year of waiting, I have arrived in Canada for the first leg of my Churchill Fellowship research visits. One of my first sights on arrival in a chilly Toronto was the Great Hall at the heart of Union Station. It is currently part way through restoration works, but its Beaux-Arts architectural features show how it was intended to be an important part of the 'new vision' for Toronto when it was built after the Great Fire in 1904. The vaulted ceiling is particularly striking, with the provincial flags of Canada lining the wall below. The flags reminded me about one of the reasons for visiting Canada as part of my Churchill Fellowship exploring advance research planning - which is that Canada's legal system with a combination of common law and civil law provides an interesting perspective on health law, alongside its universal health care system, and the differences between provinces and territories in both health and law.
My visit to Canada will include two neighbouring provinces - Ontario and Quebec - and I am fortunate to have the opportunity to talk to experts in health law, bioethics, clinical trials, advance care planning, clinical care and social work in both. I am looking forward to hearing more about the wider context in which Canadian healthcare and research is organised and delivered, as well as from researchers who have explored advance research planning, in order to understand more about how advance research planning might (or might not) be successfully implemented in the UK.
I am immensely grateful for their warm welcome - even if the weather is fairly chilly!