North Shore launching new festival this spring celebrating multiculturalism in Kamloops

A new festival, focusing on multiculturalism, is coming to the Tranquille corridor on the North Shore.

Planned for May 9, North Shore Business Improvement Association (NSBIA) executive director Jeremy Heighton says the one-day event will take place along Tranquille Road, with two stages for entertainment, food, art and more.

"By all reports it will be a huge even with a lot of community emphasis," he says. "Possibly bigger than Overlanders Day; we're talking about two stages, we're talking about closing off an entire block of Tranquille."

"We want to go big, we want to go public and we want to go street level."

The NSBIA reached out to Kamloops Immigrant Services recently, and the two are working on the plan. While planning is in the early days, Heighton is excited about the new project and what it means to the North Shore community.

"Because of the nature of how the North Shore developed, we see this multiculturalism every single day in our street names, in our older families, in our civic leaders and our politicians," he says. "Their families all came from this deep cultural pool, so instead of fighting multiculturalism we should be embracing multiculturalism because it's at the very heart of our community."

He notes that old maps show how people from different parts the world settled the North Shore, farming and growing orchards in the early days of the community.

"I think it's really interesting: you had people come from across the globe (100 years ago) who don't necessarily share a common language, common culture, common traditions, and they all come together for a common purpose which is to build a better life and create better community," Heighton says. "Those differences actually become part of the glue, part of the cohesion that pulls people together, rather than driving them apart."

"You end up with a culture where everybody has a value, everybody has a role, everybody has a contribution to make and so you look at the deeper cultural aspects of their origins and you embrace them in a different way."

The Kamloops Multicultural Festival will run May 9; Heighton says details are still being worked on, as it's moving from concept to the planning stage now.

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