The Canadian Government promoted ‘Canada 150’ in 2017 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation. As part of Canada 150 celebrations, and in affirmation of Canada’s Multiculturalism Act of 1988, The Great India Festival (TGIF) and the Indo-Canadian Community Centre (ICCC) initiated the ‘Canada 150/150’ project.
The Canadian Multiculturalism Act, established by former Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau in 1971, acknowledged multiculturalism as a fundamental characteristic of Canadian society with an integral role in shaping Canada’s future. Intercultural exchange and interaction was encouraged in an effort to foster a greater appreciation and awareness of Canada’s cultural diversity.
The ‘Canada 150/150’ project invited Canadians of various cultural backgrounds to host neighbours and acquaintances (guests) at their homes for the better part of a day, so guests could experience the hosts’ culture and daily life. The intent was to dilute barriers and bring a greater understanding and appreciation of the host culture. The project was well received, with more than 150 participants.
On January 27, 2018, ICCC and TGIF organized an event at the Infinity Convention Centre to recognize those who participated in the project, and to hear about their experiences.
Among those present were many supporters of the project, as well as community leaders, including Ottawa’s Mayor, Jim Watson and MP Chandra Arya who congratulated TGIF and ICCC on this valuable initiative. A media piece was screened, showing video testimonials from hosts, and photographs of happy encounters between hosts and guests. Hosts and guests received certificates, recognizing them as ambassadors of the project.
A performance of Kathak dance by Kasturi Mishra, accompanied by traditional Tabla music courtesy of Gharana Arts, entertained and educated guests about Indian Classical Arts.
The Great India Festival and the Indo-Canadian Community Centre will continue to promote this intercultural exchange and interaction via the Canada 150/150 Project.