The PEI Association for Newcomers to Canada is presenting the DiverseCity Festival in a new format this year. DiverseCity@Home will bring many elements that DiverseCity is known for—performances, demonstrations, and even delicious ethnic food—into Island homes via TV and online streaming to celebrate Canadian Multiculturalism Day at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 27.
First held in 2007, the DiverseCity Festival has grown to become one of the province’s largest events, attracting more than 20,000 people annually and has expanded from Charlottetown to include the communities of Alberton and Three Rivers (Montague). It has become an annual showcase of some of the best musicians and dancers from around the globe who have come to call PEI home. In addition to the live performances, the festival also incorporates a variety of cultural demonstrations and food vendors offering a world of flavours and tastes.
DiverseCity 2020 was scheduled to be held in Charlottetown, Montague and Alberton starting in late June and running into July, however in keeping with the COVID-19 guidelines from the provincial government regarding public gatherings, this year’s festival has adapted and found a new way to reach the public. “This is the biggest multicultural celebration in the province, year after year,” says PEIANC Executive Director Craig Mackie, “and although we won’t be able to hold it in-person this summer, we think it’s so important to showcase the artistic and other contributions newcomers make in their new communities, that we couldn’t allow the festival to be put on hold this year.”
The DiverseCity@Home Festival broadcast will feature musical performances, dance, demonstrations and cultural information. “It’s a chance to bring the festival from the street into Island homes,” says DiverseCity manager Mark Carr-Rollitt, “and while the scale and scope will be different, I think our message of celebration, diversity and inclusion will resonate with everyone viewing.”
DiverseCity@Home is also working with local vendors who annually participate in the festival to arrange a take out or delivery method for some of the international foods that are so popular every year. “We are contacting food vendors and working with them to create menus and pricing, and to set up an online ordering and delivery service,” says Carr-Rollitt, “the idea is for people to order their food and have it delivered so that they can enjoy it while watching the DiverseCity@Home broadcast.”
While the lineups and details are being finalized over the coming weeks, there will be additional calls for performers and opportunities for others to participate. “Anything we can do to keep our community connected and positive is important, as this is a challenging time for newcomers and immigrants and all Islanders,” Carr-Rollitt notes. DiverseCity@Home will be broadcasted by Eastlink Community TV, Channel 610 and streamed online.