Toronto, Aug. 24 (CNA) The 2019 TaiwanFest, an annual Taiwanese cultural festival in Canada, opened in Toronto on Friday with an eye toward working with Europe in the future.
First held in 1990, TaiwanFest is now the largest Mandarin speaking event in Canada and has long encouraged dialogue between different immigrant communities in different countries, according to the Asian Canadian Special Events Association (ACSEA), the co-organizer of the festival.
Now in its fourth year of its "Dialogue with Asia" program, the festival is titled "Riding the waves with Vietnam" this year and features a series of events engaging the two cultures, said TaiwanFest Managing Director Charlie Wu (吳權益).
Wu hopes to expand that model to other parts of the world.
"Many communities have proposed future cooperation, including from Africa and Europe, but after Asia, we are planning to cooperate with the Europeans," Wu said.
Canada's multicultural policy is focused on inclusion and respect, but the ACSEA hopes to go beyond this through TaiwanFest, Wu said.
The goal, he said, is for Taiwanese communities to have dialogues with other cultures so that cultural similarities and differences can be mutually appreciated and that these communities can grow and develop together.
The festival "engages people with conversations [on topics] they haven't really thought about in the past," he said. "We're hoping this can be a great model for festivals here in Canada as well as festivals in Taiwan to embrace."
The festival is being held in Toronto from Aug. 23 to 25 and then continues in Vancouver from Aug. 31 to Sep. 2, according to the ACSEA.
Activities include concerts by the well-known Ju Percussion Group, lectures, films, family-oriented activities and exhibitions.
The festival would not be complete without food, which plays an important role in the dialogue with Vietnam, and Vietnamese fusion cuisine, designed by a Vietnamese chef who owned a restaurant in Taipei, is being served at TaiwanFest.