The 2015 Whistler Multicultural Festival is a celebration of multiculturalism in Whistler. Immigrants from across the local community pull out all the stops every June to welcome their fellow locals in celebrating the rich diversity of our wonderful little-big town.
Date: Friday, June 12
Where: Florence Petersen Park at the Whistler Library and Whistler Museum
History of the Whistler Multicultural Festival
The first Whistler Multicultural Festival took place in 2011 and was presented by the Whistler Forum. It brought Main Street alive during the wet dead season, bringing together locals and businesses in a celebration of food and performances. After two years of delivering a great festival, the Whistler Forum encouraged the Whistler Multicultural Network, a small group of local immigrants, to take over the reins, which they did in 2013.
The Whistler Multicultural Network (WMN) was formed in 2011 by a group of engaged local immigrants who saw the importance of developing a network of support for newcomers to Whistler. The WMN aims to welcome and support newcomers, to celebrate their skills and cultures, so that immigrants are empowered and enabled to participate more widely and sustainably in our community. Through events like the Whistler Multicultural Festival, we aim to build a greater understanding and recognition of the skills and values immigrants bring to Whistler.
In 2013, the WMN took over the organization of the Whistler Multicultural Festival. Their vision for the Festival was to create a new Whistler tradition for everyone to embrace, a true community event that is for locals and by locals where everyone is welcome! Another aspect the group wanted to develop was to focus on showcasing local multiculturalism through engaging people in interactive, educational activities, local performers and food vendors who offer a multicultural element – this will remain a core principle of the Festival for years’ to come.
What to expect at the Festival?
On June 12, the main action will be at Whistler Public Library, Whistler Museum and Florence Petersen Park. There will be a Multicultural Market at Whistler Library where a variety of local vendors will be showcasing their unique products for sale, this is a new introduction to the Festival. At Whistler Library, the Children’s Corner will feature multicultural story time, Japanese, Mexican and Egyptian crafts and more.
Inside the Library and at the Park, there will be a host of interactive crafts and activities, including Chinese Calligraphy, Soap Carving and Rock Painting with the Squamish Lillooet Cultural Centre. At Whistler Museum – which will be open by donation for the duration of the Festival – you can design and make your very own button.
You can grab some tasty food from favourites like the Tandoori Grill, Kaze Sushi, Bob Likes Thai Food and The Rockin’ Wok at Florence Petersen Park while you catch some of the amazing performances offered by our talented community members. Kids will sure be having fun as Ira Pettle, a local favourite, will be hosting the Festival from the Park and keeping everyone entertained.
A Thank You to the Key Partners in the Organization of Whistler Multicultural Festival:
The Festival would not be possible without the support of some key partners. Firstly, Citizenship & Immigration Canada have kindly supported the Festival by offering funding, which the WMN greatly appreciates. Without the solid support of some local partners, the Festival would not be possible – Whistler Public Library, Whistler Museum and Sue Eckersley from Watermark Communications have given astounding guidance and motivation to the WMN since 2013 and the WMN will be forever grateful! This year, we are delighted to be able to acknowledge Gibbons and Whistler FM as corporate sponsors for this years’ event. Join us for the Whistler Multicultural Festival after party at Buffalo Bills on Friday night!
Guest blog post written by: Bri Oliver, Multicultural Outreach Worker for the Sea to Sky Community Services