Sudbury

Marking Canada's cultural mosaic at the Sudbury arena

Canada Day seems like the perfect day to celebrate the various ethnic backgrounds that make up this country. "A cultural mosaic" is what the President of the Sudbury Multicultural and Folk Arts Association, Dr Remi Ogundimu calls the event held every Canada Day at the Sudbury community arena.
Members of the Sudbury Multicultural and Folk Arts Association: Niranjan Mishra, Dr Rayudo Koka, Zenaida Odense and Dr Remi Ogundimu, at the Canada day festivities at the Sudbury community arena (Angela Gemmill/CBC)

Canada Day seems like the perfect day to celebrate the various ethnic backgrounds that make up this country.

"A cultural mosaic" is what the President of the Sudbury Multicultural and Folk Arts Association, Dr. Remi Ogundimu, calls the event held every July 1 at the Sudbury community arena.

The group has been holding the cultural event there since the mid 60s.

"Different ethnic groups performing and also [visitors] try different foods from different countries, where instead of having to go to five different restaurants you have them all in one spot." said Ogundimu. She added that it's meant to get people mixing and mingling, and having a joyous celebration of Canada Day.

The Canada Day festivities begin with a parade from Memorial Park to the arena. Prior to the welcoming speeches there is First Nation hand drumming.

There are 11 food vendors offering various ethnic foods to visitors. On the stage there are cultural performances showcasing dancing or music from various backgrounds.

Dr Remi Ogundimu, President of the Sudbury Multicultural and Folk Arts Association, at the Sudbury Arena on Canada Day. (Angela Gemmill/CBC)

Sudbury: Embracing and welcoming community

Dr Ogundimu calls Sudbury an embracing and welcoming community.

Past President of the association, Dr. Rayudu Koka agrees. He has been in Canada for 30 years and loves Sudbury.

He says he loves being a part of a community that celebrates and accepts people from all different backgrounds and walks of life.

"We're all together. No matter who we are [or] where we came from. We're all global. Sudbury enjoys multiculturalism. This city is great." said Dr. Koka.

Canada Day event chair, Zenaida Odense, says the association hopes to make next year's festivities at the arena its largest yet. That's because in 2017 Canada will mark its 150th birthday.

She says all the ethnic groups represented at the Canada Day event are always so proud to showcase their food, wares and entertainment.

"When we are here we belong; we feel we belong to this country now. We still have our own heritage, that is being preserved, but Canada is now our country." said Odense.

Thousands come to the Sudbury community arena on Canada Day for the cultural food vendors. They can also watch traditional dancing and musical performances from various cultural backgrounds. (Angela Gemmill/CBC)

It's a lot of work to put the multicultural event together, said Dr. Ogundimu. However, she added that everyone looks forward to it, every Canada Day.

Between 2,000 and 5,000 people usually attend the celebration.

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