Throughout Canada, Canadian Filipinos are partying this entire month of June to celebrate Canada’s first Filipino Heritage Month. Below are just some of the events being held to celebrate this national declaration and the Philippines’ 121st Independence Day.
A huge kick-off event took place at the Kingsway Mall in Edmonton on June 1 from 12 noon with a Flores de Mayo parade, music and dance performances, a fashion show and workshops on Filipino martial arts, language, arts and crafts.
Familiar Filipino brands like Max’s Restaurant joined other Edmonton-based Filipino businesses such as Casa Laurel, Loriz Bakery and TFC Canada. The event was supported by the Philippine Arts council, Pekiti Tirsia Kali Society of Alberta and Kingsway Mall.
The 4th Edmonton Filipino Fiesta is happening on June 22 and 23 at the Borden Park in downtown Edmonton to be hosted by CBC’s Mark Connolly and Tara McCarthy. Attendees will have several workshops and demonstrations to choose from. Participating groups include the Philippine Warrior Arts Society, Pinoy Zumba, Sung Lee Taekwondo, Filipino Zin, and Move to Zweat (M2Z) Danzfit from Calgary. Singer/songwriter Yeng Constantino is a special guest. Aside from performing on June 22, Constantino will also lead Philippine Arts Council’s The Learning Table in the morning, sharing her stories and insights with young student and artists in an informal interaction.
The Philippine flag was hoisted at the Filipino Plaza in Vancouver on June 1 as a kickoff event for celebrations in B.C.
The Philippine Consulate General in Vancouver mounted a food and travel fair dubbed Proudly Philippines at Robson Square in downtown Vancouver on June 15. (See: https://www.canadianfilipino.net/news/food-and-travel-fair-proudly-philippines-to-mark-filipino-heritage-month-in-canada)
Full day events and celebrations were held on June 4 at the Telus Garden in downtown Vancouver, the Rotary Stadium in Abbotsford on June 8, the Waterfront Park in North Vancouver on June 8 and 9 and the Bridgeview Park Centre on June 16.
The Vancouver Public Library (VPL) will join in celebrating Philippine Heritage Month with the Vancouver Filipino Cultural Series: Jose Rizal on June 21 which would be the national hero’s 158th birthday. The event will not only discuss Rizal’s life but is an opportunity for the public to learn about those who fought during the dark periods in Philippine history.
Rain did not dampen the spirits of those who participated in the annual Manitoba Filipino Street Festival held June 8 and 9 at the Maples Multiplex and Grounds. Highlighted by a concert with singers Randy Santiago and Kyla, the weekend featured a Flores de Mayo parade participated in by several local Filipino associations, music and dance performances, free fitness sessions, games, fireworks and the 2019 Queen Bulilit contest held at the Maples Community Centre.
Filipino food was in abundance at the venue through food trucks that served fishballs, goto, chicken inasal, ice candy and kakanin.
A kick-off event was held at the Scarborough Civic Centre on June 1 with cultural and trade shows, games, and a special performance by ‘70s folk artist Florante.
In Ottawa, historian and columnist Ambeth Ocampo delivered his lecture “Rizal: The Hero as Traveler” on May 31 at the Sentro Rizal Ottawa. In his lecture, Ocampo enjoined Filipinos, “We must make Rizal relevant in our times. We must remind ourselves that to know Rizal is to know our own capacity for greatness.”
Ocampo then travelled to Toronto to deliver two lectures on Rizal and the Philippines as an emerging nation. The lecture series sponsored by the Philippine Consulate General in Toronto and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts’ Sentro Rizal were held on June 3 at the Keele Campus of York University and June 4 at the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy of the University of Toronto.
Also in Ottawa, Canadian Filipinos celebrated on June 9 at the Vincent Massey Park with Parada ng Lechon (parade of roast pigs), chess and volleyball tournaments and a Filipino dance battle. A flag-raising ceremony was held at the Ottawa City Hall on June 12 followed by a community breakfast at the Philippine Embassy office. On June 22, MP Chandra Arya, who supported the passage of Motion No. 155 declaring June as Canada’s Filipino Heritage Month, hosted a Filipino Heritage Day at the Parliament Building in the afternoon.
The Toronto Public Library joins the celebration with its special program Celebrate Filipino Heritage Month: Make Your Own Halo-Halo on June 24 at the Youth Hub. This special drop-in program is open to teens 13 to 19 years old.
On June 22, the Philippine Canadian Charitable Foundation hosts the Pinoy Fiesta and Trade Show sa Toronto at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. The day-long celebration will include coronations for the Foundation’s pageants, live music and dances from the Culture Philippines of Ontario.
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