In 2002, the federal government declared June 27 National Multiculturalism Day. The day is marked by celebrations all over the country and is also part of an 11-day national celebration of Canada’s diversity.
The celebration is kicked off each year by Aboriginal Day which is celebrated on June 21 — a day that corresponds with the summer solstice, and a time which many Aboriginal groups celebrate their culture and heritage.
St. Jean Baptiste Day follows on June 24 (a statutory holiday in Quebec). This holiday marks the day on which French Canadians have long celebrated their patron saint who was named so in 1908. Multiculturalism Day follows that on June 27, and the whole 11-day celebration is wrapped up with the national Canada Day celebrations on July 1.
On June 27, the Peninsula will be no exception in terms of celebrating Canada’s diverse population. The Multiculturalism Day Celebration at the Mary Winspear Centre will feature the proclamation of the celebration by town crier, Kenny Podmore, followed by many interesting performances in the Charlie White Theatre.
“I’m looking forward to the celebration,” said Podmore of the inaugural event. “It will be building a foundation for the future so that Sidney and the Peninsula can begin celebrating multiculturalism every year. It’s also nice that it will run into the Sidney Days and Canada Day celebrations — they’re all connected, really, so it will be fun.”
The performances, courtesy of different cultural groups from Greater Victoria, will include the Sons of Norway Leikarring Dancers and Latin America Zumba dancers. To finish off the celebrations, a traditional English tea will be served at 3 p.m. for a nominal fee, but “all other entertainment is free of charge,” noted Lynn Fanelli, development coordinator at the Mary Winspear Centre. “We want everyone to be able to come out and enjoy celebrating different cultures with us.”
During the theatre presentations there will also be booths in the foyer featuring cultural displays and information on upcoming events in and around the Peninsula.