It has become fashionable in the past decade to say that Canada is changing, becoming more urban, ethnically mixed, competitive, secular, and media-savvy. Ask anyone under 30, though, and you’ll hear that the country has changed already. There is a new Canada, and for young men and women now between 20 and 29, it is the only Canada they have ever known. Not only will members of this generation soon be taking over positions of influence – in business, politics, and culture – they already are leading Canadian thinking about such issues as race, sexuality, family, and the media. They are the mainstream, only more so. It is time to get to know them.

For several weeks in the summer of 2003, eight of the Globe and Mail’s top writers followed a variety of young adults as they worked, played, loved, married, struggled, and participated in public and private life. The task, inspired in part by the 2001 census results, was to draw a social map of this new country in pictures, stories – and hard statistics. These remarkable stories have been updated and expanded for The New Canada – a vital and revealing snapshot of young Canada today.