Many cul­tures on dis­play

Thou­sands gather on Mon­tague wa­ter­front to cel­e­brate P.E.I.’s mo­saic of mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE ISLAND - Mitch.macdon­ald@the­guardian.pe.ca Twit­ter.com/Mitch_PEI BY MITCH MACDON­ALD

The sights, sounds and tastes of P.E.I.’s evolv­ing cul­tural back­drop were put proudly on dis­play this week­end.

Thou­sands took part in the Di­verseCity Mul­ti­cul­tural Street Fes­ti­val held on the Mon­tague Wa­ter­front Sun­day, which marked the fourth time the fes­ti­val has been held in the Kings County town.

From the first per­for­mance of a tra­di­tional Chi­nese lion dance to a fire­works fi­nale, the wa­ter­front was trans­formed into a show­case of P.E.I.’s many dif­fer­ent eth­nic com­mu­ni­ties.

For An­drew Wang, who per­formed the lion dance with Brant Wei, the fes­ti­val has be­come a sum­mer tra­di­tion of shar­ing cul­tural ex­pe­ri­ence while also learn­ing about oth­ers.

“It’s very good, it’s a fan­tas­tic event,” said Wang, who also shared some mar­tial arts dur­ing the event.

Yan Wang, who was selling items at the Danc­ing Fan­tasy Cloth­ing Store’s booth, said it was his first time at the event.

The store, just re­cently opened on Prince Street in Char­lot­te­town, pro­vides danc­ing lessons while also selling tra­di­tional Chi­nese jewellery and ac­ces­sories.

Yan pointed out the wide va­ri­ety of cul­tural back­grounds, with about 50 par­tic­i­pat­ing in the over­all event.

“We all share dif­fer­ent cul­tures and we all share our dif­fer­ent back­grounds,” he said. “And we’re all happy to live on the Is­land.”

The event was the fi­nale for the three-day Mon­tague Sum­mer Days Fes­ti­val.

Mayor Richard Collins said he was pleased to wel­come the crowd into the town, which is also in the midst of a more than three-month long ini­tia­tive cel­e­brat­ing the town’s 100th birth­day.

“Each year, (Di­verseCity) is get­ting big­ger,” said Collins, not­ing that the fire­works dis­play was shaped up to be “the best fire­works Mon­tague has ever had.”

Craig Mackie, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the P.E.I. As­so­ci­a­tion for New­com­ers to Canada, said the aim of the event was to bring the di­ver­sity of sights, smells, sounds and food of “the new Prince Ed­ward Is­land.”

“Which is be­com­ing a far more di­verse place,” said Mackie.

P.E.I. Fi­nance Min­is­ter Allen Roach also com­mented on the prov­ince’s di­ver­sity, not­ing that Is­lan­ders are wel­com­ing new neigh­bours from around the world.

“It’s great to have them and to have such di­ver­sity in our com­mu­nity,” said Roach.

“I think that’s what makes Cana­dian cul­ture, is ev­ery­body that moves to Canada and ev­ery­thing they bring. And I think we’re ex­tremely lucky.”

The first Di­verseCity Fes­ti­val of this sum­mer was held in Char­lot­te­town last month.

A third and fi­nal Di­verseCity event for this sum­mer will be held at the Wy­att Her­itage Prop­er­ties in Sum­mer­side on Sun­day, July 30.

MITCH MACDON­ALD/THE GUARDIAN

Mem­bers in the crowd couldn’t keep their eyes off a tra­di­tional Chi­nese lion dance that started the Di­verseCity Mul­ti­cul­tural Street Fes­ti­val in Mon­tague this week­end. The lion dance, which fea­tured An­drew Wang and Brant Wei, was the first of many per­for­mances held on the Mon­tague wa­ter­front through­out the day.

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