CDDHS student preparing to compete in Miss Teenage Canada

August 13, 2021   ·   0 Comments

By Paula Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Elizabeth Unwin, a student at Centre Dufferin District High School, is preparing to compete on the national stage in Miss Teenage Canada 2021 at the end of August, after being awarded the title of Miss Teenage Dufferin County. 

“It doesn’t feel real and I have no idea how I managed to do it,” Unwin tells the Free Press. “I didn’t expect to place. It’s something so big, that I didn’t even think I would be able to do or would happen to me especially the first time competing.” 

Last month, Unwin travelled to Vaughan to compete in Miss Teenage Ontario, a preliminary pageant to Miss Teenage Canada, with more than 30 other contestants between the ages of 13 and 19.

Taking part in her first pageant, she earned a high enough score to be awarded the title of Miss Teenage Dufferin County 2021 and move on to the national competition. 

Established in 2008, the Miss Teenage pageants are recognized as some of Canada’s most accomplished teen competitions. According to the Miss Teenage Canada website over 70 finalists from across the country compete for the crown each year. 

Originally a competitive dancer, the local 15-year-old from Mono has spent that last nine years learning ballet, jazz, tap, and musical theatre. Speaking with the Free Press, Unwin said it is through competitive dance that she became interested in pageants. 

“There’s a little bit of pageantry in dance,” said Unwin. 

While pageants are often known to the general public for their “looks” aspect, the Miss Teenage Canada pageant says their motto is “be your own kind of beautiful”. 

“The pageant itself really pushes not being the perfect person, but being the best version of yourself and having the confidence to stand up and speak about what you think is right, and the things that you care about,” said Unwin.

During the competition, contestants are judged on a number of factors including how they walk, and their choices of “evening wear” and “active wear” (formerly the swim suite segment), but they are also required to deliver a 30-second platform speech. 

Unwin took her 30 seconds to speak about bettering the education system. 

“[The education system] is very much made for a certain type of person to excel. At my school we learn about our learning styles, but instead of incorporating everybody’s learning style into the curriculum, they just incorporate the one. If you do not fit that learning style then you are expected to teach yourself in a way that works best for you, and that shouldn’t happen,” explained Unwin. 

As part of her role in Miss Teenage Ontario and Miss Teenage Canada, Unwin has also been raising money for Make a Wish Canada through a GoFundMe ( and has a goal of $400.

“It’s been hard with COVID because you can’t go out and do things, but I’m trying my best,” said Unwin. 

Unwin will compete for Miss Teenage Canada during the final week of August. 

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