Community Foundation of Greater Peterborough helps welcome newcomers on Canada DayWednesday, August 3rd, 2016 | JP Nikota
This past Canada Day, Cuban salsa dancers, Indigenous hand drum singers, jiu jitsu martial artists, and food from around the world were among the many highlights that allowed the people of Peterborough, Ontario to come face-to-face with newer members of their community – and to welcome them.
A sense of belonging was in the air as Canadians clad in red and white milled about, engaging with the different cultures that now call Peterborough home. A large number of people joined local MP Maryam Monsef for a circle dance, while others sampled Thai, Indian, or Japanese foods for the first time.
The multicultural flare of Canada Day in Peterborough was in no small part due to the efforts of the New Canadians Centre (NCC). The NCC coordinated approximately 130 volunteers for the event in order to develop real connections between members of all kinds of communities present in the Peterborough area. The event was a huge success, with thousands of attendees taking in the festivities.
“In early 2016 the New Canadians Centre was designated a Welcome Centre for Syrian refugees. Through story-telling, messaging and providing leadership in our community, the NCC is transforming Peterborough to become a more welcoming and diverse city. The Multicultural Canada Day Festival is one of the best opportunities to celebrate diversity through culture, food, music and dance and on a deeper level, empower immigrants and refugees to become full and equal members of our community and call Peterborough home,” said Carol Lawless, Resource Development Coordinator with the NCC.
The celebration itself was made possible by the Community Fund for Canada’s 150th, a collaborative effort involving the Community Foundation of Greater Peterborough, Community Foundations of Canada and the Government of Canada.
Initiatives like this truly encapsulate what Canada’s 150th is all about – giving Canadians from diverse backgrounds opportunities to meet up, celebrate, and share their unique music and cultural heritage to inspire a deeper understanding about the people that shape our communities and our country.
Photo: MP Maryam Monsef (centre) with Peterborough festival attendees