York University Libraries | Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections online exhibits

Multicultural celebrations and events

Jean Augustine discusses the Canadian Heritage button.


And again, this was another celebration. Canadian Heritage Festival where community groups would come out, your artists, your media people, your music, your dance, a special day of festival, foods, different things would happen. I know in the city of Toronto we have different festivals now that are occurring, but this again supported by Canadian heritage.

Jean Augustine discusses the Caribana at Varsity button.


Caribana At Varsity, this is an interesting one. This was 1967, because as you know Caribana started as a result of the community’s enthusiasm to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Canada, the constitution of Canada in 1967. And the parade started at Varsity Stadium and then we went from Varsity stadium to University, down at University Avenue, etc. So these were buttons that we had prior to get people to assemble at Varsity. So this is where it’s going to be, be part of this new thing, this Caribana thing, be at Varsity. And Varsity is really the stadium [at] University of Toronto on Bloor Street and University.

Jean Augustine discusses the Carrousel of the Nations button.

This is all multiculturalism. A big festival that is held in Windsor, again around the whole issue of-- in those early days we spent a lot of time kind of defining who we were; that we came from here, we came from there, we came from the other and we need to bring all of our talents and skills together and we need to respect each other and we need to recognize diversity as a strength and we need to work as community of nations. And so this was-- I used to go to this on an annual basis. And actually, I was very much engaged with the Caribbean groups in Windsor as they formed a group called Windsor Women Working with Immigrant Women, but that carousel still happens on an annual basis. It's like a big Caribbean festival.

Jean Augustine discusses the Heritage has its day button.

Over the years, I think those people who study what and how communities have evolved, you know, the different things that have happened in the communities that brought us together, we know the heritage. There was the department of Canadian heritage and Canadian heritage funded and supported a lot of activities in the community. And there were special efforts that were made under the whole theme of multiculturalism, multiethnic, multiracial, you now, recognizing who we are. And so Heritage— there would be special opportunities for department of Heritage to support efforts. And sometimes many—the community organizations would do things around heritage and I think this was a program, I don’t even remember what group may have gotten funding to do some heritage stuff. But these programs that were supported at the federal level, these programs are gone.