This year's Vancouver Taiwanfest won't restrict its programming to the country that it celebrates.
One of its highlights on the Labour Day weekend is a “Dialogues with Asia” series, which aims to showcase different Asian cultures within Canada.
“It is part of our initiative to be contributing to the multicultural aspect of our society,” Charlie Wu, managing director of ACSEA, told the Straight. “We feel that we have had the pleasure of being at Granville Street for many years, and it should not be only about Taiwanese culture.”
The 27th annual Vancouver Taiwanfest takes place at different venues around town.
Organized by the Asian Canadian Special Events Association (ACSEA)—which also puts on the LunarFest—this year’s festival will introduce plenty of new programs and attractions.
The main theme for this year’s festival is “A Cultural Tango with Hong Kong”, which will highlight the history and culture of the Chinese region.
One of the most anticipated programs of the three-day event is a concert by Maestro Ken Hsieh of the Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra. The classical-meets-contemporary musical performance will pay tribute to two iconic Taiwan and Hong Kong stars—Teresa Tang and Leslie Cheung.
For those who enjoy listening to stories, “Hope Talks” will be festival program where individuals get to share their stories and ideas with the audience. One of the speakers, Chian-Li Hsu, will be speaking about his volunteer experience in palliative care from both Taiwan and Canada.
Other highlights at the festival include music performances by Cosmos People, a culinary competition between chefs from Taiwan and Hong Kong, friendship picnic, grand tea reception, monkey theatre (bound to be a hit with children), Taiwanese cinema, mahjong on the streets, bubble tea, and more.
“This year, [the Taiwanfest] have expanded and brought in all kinds of innovative ideas,” said NPA councillor Elizabeth Ball at the festival’s press conference. “Indeed, this is what the city of Vancouver is all about: recognizing and celebrating our diversity.”
Taiwanfest will also be collaborating with Step 30 Vancouver (a nongovernment organization) to promote “Shoes on Granville save lives in Kenya”. This event will encourage attendees to donate shoes to the charity, which directly helps barefoot people in East Africa affected by dangerous bugs.
“Other than just having fun on the streets, we also try to do good for the community as well,” said Wu.
As one of the largest cultural events in Canada (which also takes place in downtown Toronto), the festival offers plenty of programs for Vancouverites to learn about Taiwanese and other Asian cultures.
“Taiwanfest is an opportunity for everybody to be engaged and to learn and share their experiences,” said Wu. “People should be excited that Vancouver gets to showcase an important part of the community.”