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This Canada 150 NSG Project had two parts, with about 35 people who attended each event.
In May we invited John Atkin to come to South Hill Neighbourhood Centre (SHNC) and give a public lecture about the history of South Vancouver. He is passionate about the history of Vancouver and he did a great job of focusing on the local history of South Vancouver. People had lots of questions during the question time. We included samosas and watermelon, so that neighbours could chat over snacks.
Then in September we hosted part two. Our goal was to gain an understanding of the various historical situations that have brought people to South Vancouver so that we get to know one another better as neighbours and can work together to build our local community with mutual respect and understanding.
We invited 4 speakers who eloquently explained what life was like as people immigrated to South Vancouver over the past 120 years in answer to the question: What were the global and local events that led to 4 waves of immigration? They each showed 10-20 pictures as they spoke.
With the NSG grant money we provided a light lunch – a “tasting buffet that included Indian Chana Masala, Filipino Noodles, Chinese Stir Fry and German Apfel Strudel. We also purchased a very simple portable PA so that the speakers had a mic to amplify their voice and let everyone hear without problems. The portable PA remains at the SHNC for future events.
I was very moved by the similarities in the immigration stories. Violence & poverty driving people to leave a homeland; separation from family over many years & the struggles that come with reunification; discrimination & striving to become citizens with full rights. I think that everyone who attended that day left with their eyes open to the difficult path that new immigrants face. But also inspired by the speakers whose parents or grandparents walked that hard path, and now they are the face of Canada today.
We couldn’t have held these two neighbourhood events without the help of the NSG grant. So thank you for letting us explore the local history of South Vancouver in this way.