Multiculturalism in Toronto is represented by the equal celebration of racial, religious and cultural backgrounds. Toronto and Canadian culture is shaped by the unity and coexistence of many cultural influences and traditions. However, since the nature of multiculturalism focuses on culture retention, there is often a lack of dialogue in and between different groups.
Working Skills Centre (WSC) embraces diversity and also promotes integration and collaboration between cultures. WSC hosted a free intercultural interaction event, Transitions: Immigrant Narratives, on Wednesday, October 23, 2013 at St. Lawrence Hall, funded in part by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
“Working Skills Centre understands the necessity of creating appropriate spaces for dialogue for people from different cultural, ethnic and religious backgrounds to come together to learn about each other, to learn from each other, and to understand each other,” said Honey Crossley, Executive Director.
Attendees shared their experiences through games, activities and performances in a festival atmosphere. The event highlighted five intercultural displays, representing Africa, Asia, Europe, Central America and the Caribbean, and North America, including Aboriginal and Canadian historical perspectives. A video featuring individuals from Toronto’s diverse neighbourhoods was shown and an international tea tasting was held.
Aboriginal Storyteller Jim Adams related traditional stories, using a community drum. A dancer from Diva Diverse performed an interactive belly dance, and Salsa Instructor Elsa Platero and her young students performed salsa and hip hop dances.
Our colleagues from Native Women’s Centre taught guests how to make dreamcatchers. Henna Heals created beautiful temporary henna art for guests. Guests tried writing with 19th century quills and inkwells from Toronto’s First Post Office. Other activities included European egg painting, sari tying and Achi (an African board game).
Multiculturalism is reflected in Canadian law through the Canadian Multiculturalism Act and section 27 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and is administered by the Department of Canadian Heritage. All levels of government put a public emphasis on the social importance of immigration and inclusion.