The St. John’s Farmer’s Market accommodates multiple cultures on any given weekend, which fashioned it to be the ideal place to celebrate Canadian Multiculturalism Day on Sunday.
Canadian Multiculturalism Day is highlighted by the federal administration as a day of learning in the nation, focused on promoting and permitting people to explore different cultures across Canada.
From fashion and music to food and crafts, organizers stated the event exhibited over 20 countries worldwide, from Mexico and Syria to Bangladesh.
Zainab Jerrett, an organizer, claims occasions such as the Canadian Multiculturalism Day are crucial for bringing various communities together and exhibiting diversity within the province.
Jerrett, who is originally from Nigeria, said on Sunday that,
“It helps us live and appreciate one another from different cultural backgrounds.”
“We are all Canadians. Diverse, but we are multicultural and united.”
Shohreh Afzali got to St. John’s from Iran earlier in the year, says she was interested in Canada partly due to its multiculturalism.
Learning about other cultures, she stated, is not only fascinating but also a vital part of integrating into a new society.
“I thought, as a citizen of St. John’s, that maybe [it is] my duty to come and get familiar with different cultures, different peoples,” she noted. “Because I’m going to actually live with them, to work with them.”
Omid Tarkhaneh was also brought up in Iran and he came to St. John’s to chase his Ph.D. studies in scientific computing at Memorial University.
Omid believes multiculturalism can be a good incentive for growth and progress and noted it is regularly the “missing link” in less developed countries.
“I think it’s very good if you can just be the kind of a person who can get along with each other in a better way.”
“Canada is kind of a pioneer in this case I think.”
Jerrett is the executive director of the St. John’s Tombolo Multicultural Festival, which started as a local cultural exhibit in 2009. She claimed the lack of diversity was obvious when she first came to the region in 1992 — to the point where she had African food brought in from friends living in cities that were more diverse.
However, Jerrett stated, she has observed a serious change from the time she first arrived in the area.
“Now I can walk to Dominion, Sobeys, Bulk Barn and buy food from anywhere in the world,” Jerrett noted. “Newfoundland is really culturally diverse now.”
On Wednesday, the provincial administration declared it would spend nearly $8 million to assist in attracting 5,100 immigrants yearly by 2026.
Census information for the City of St. John’s indicates over 8,000 immigrants were residing in the metro area in 2016 with 33 percent of the individuals arriving between 2006 and 2011.