Some of Pemberton’s newest residents are banding together this week to showcase the growing diversity among those calling the valley home.
Members of the Pemberton Multicultural Network (PMN) are getting set to host the inaugural Pemberton Multicultural Week, which kicks off with a full slate of events on Saturday (Nov. 17) at the community centre and officially running through to Nov. 23. The event coincides with B.C. Multiculturalism Week.
Carole Stretch, an ESL coordinator with Capilano University, has been working with new Canadians landing in Pemberton, and her group has broadened into the PMN.
Stretch said that members of the group liked what they’ve seen during Whistler’s Intercultural Festival and wanted to bring a similar event to the Spud Valley.
“We have been talking about what would help them participate in the community more and what would help them feel more at home there,” said Stretch. “They came up with the idea of hosting some kind of multicultural event to be able to show everyone their skills and experience in their cultures and start a dialogue so that people could understand each other a bit more.”
The majority of the festivities are reserved for Saturday, when a range of activities will be on offer between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
The cuisines of several cultures will be available for tasting, with Japanese, Filipino, Swiss and Francophone food among the varieties that will be dished out. But there will also be a focus on art and performance during Saturday’s schedule, with lots of activities targeting youth.
While musicians and dancers from various ethnic backgrounds are scheduled to perform, there will also be craft-making throughout the day, such as Mexican Halloween masks, basket-weaving, Japanese origami, and more. Some foreign twists on traditional games will be featured as well, said Stretch.
“For example, we play ‘pin the tail on the donkey.’ In Japan, they play ‘pin the nose on the face.’ So, we’re doing some games like that for children,” she said. “Children will be able to make and do lots of things.”
Meanwhile, Stretch said PMN members are also planning to host some events at Mount Currie’s Ts’zil Learning Centre on Tuesday (Nov. 20), featuring First Nations games and food.
“We’re in the process of bringing all those bits together,” said Stretch.
Although the event was planned with the hope of making new residents feel more at home, those who have been living in the Pemberton area for a long time will hopefully take away something new from Pemberton Multicultural Week as well.
“I think it’s just a recognition of all the new cultures that are coming in and what they have,” said Stretch. “We hope to start a dialogue and create a better understanding of who’s moving in, who’s there and what they bring.
“And, it’ll be fun.”
Stretch said the group is hopeful that the event can become an annual gathering with a bigger schedule of activities in the future.
More information, including descriptions of the activities on Saturday’s schedule, can be found on the event’s Facebook page. Search ‘Pemberton Multicultural Week’ to find full details.