Four decades and counting

Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria celebrates 40 years of cultural bridge-building

The traditional 40th anniversary gift is ruby. But in the case of the Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria, colourful jewels aren’t necessary.

All the non-profit organization wants is to see as many people that have been involved with the group over the years all gathered in one big multicultural celebration.

That’s why ICA is throwing a free, family-friendly bash this weekend to mark the special date.

Reunite, Reconnect and Recreate is the theme of the party, which executive director Jean McRae said is intended to celebrate all the positive strides the ICA has made in its four decades of existence.

“It’s an organization that has touched all these lives,” said McRae. “It’s not just one group of people, it’s so many who have volunteered, who have worked, who have contributed, who have partnered with the organization.”

The impact of the ICA has taken many forms over the years. Starting with an International Fun Fare in 1971, it has evolved into an organization that offers a wide range of services to immigrants and refugees, from settlement and integration counselling to English classes and peer support. The group is also responsible for founding FolkFest and Luminara to celebrate cultural diversity on the South Island.

“In many ways we get to see the best side of our community, so in that sense it’s very rewarding,” said McRae, who first started out with ICA as a volunteer in 1985, and has been the organization’s executive director for the last 13 years.

In true ICA fashion, the 40th anniversary bash will feature a smorgasbord of cultural entertainment. Among the highlights are drum group Uzume Taiko, Chikoro Marimba, the Saffron world music quarter, world percussion band Masala, Lion Dancers from the Wong Sheung Kung Fu Club and even a global dance mob.

There’s also face painting, giant puppets, and one of the things McRae is most looking forward to – a photo booth.

“It’s like a high school reunion. It’s an opportunity for people to reconnect with each other, to recollect and remember what part they played,” she said.

The Inter-Cutural Association of Greater Victoria 40th anniversary party is Sunday (Dec. 4) from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Crystal Garden. Admission is free

 

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