It’s an annual celebration for new Island residents.
The Welcome Day Celebration and Newcomers Expo helps connect newcomers, immigrants and refugees who have recently arrived in Canada while celebrating diversity and culture. The celebration was held Sunday at École Victor-Brodeur in Esquimalt.
“This event brings together the community to welcome our newcomers, immigrants and refugees, and we provide very diverse program including information tables, vendors, arts and crafts and all sorts of cultural performances,” says La Relais Francophone settlement worker Ximena Londono.
Since the event, which La Relais Francophone and Here Magazine cohost, got its start in 2014, it has served as an important tool for new community members looking to build connections and learn about their new home.
“These events are really important for newcomers because they help you to build community, to get to know each other and sharing cultures and know the variety of cultures that are gathering here in Canada,” says event ambassador Carlos Ramon.
“They can connect with newcomers, they can connect with local people, they can just mingle and really feel more integrated in the community,” adds Londono.
The event is also a chance to showcase each individual’s unique background.
“It’s really important that you get to showcase a little bit of your home country, and it’s important to us as newcomers, one of which I am, to be able to share a bit with the wider community,” says Here Magazine representative Kareece Whittle-Brown.
Even with the pandemic interrupting the event for the past few years, it continues to grow in popularity with newcomers and seasoned islanders alike.
“Every year, we get more and more people, more and more enthusiasm around the event,” says Brown.
“Everybody looks forward to the event, so definitely it’s an event that grows and grows.”