Photo credit: Filipino Heritage Month Montreal
First Update: 8 PM, June 1, 2019
2nd Update: 2:30 PM, June 1, 2019
By Patricia Chan
This month of June is a significant one for Filipinos across Canada as it marks the first official national Filipino Heritage Month.
But even as Filipinos across the country are celebrating this first official designation, discord is evident in several quarters as who is to be credited for this designation.
One-upmanship is no stranger in the diaspora and has plagued the community.
For this year’s celebration for example, two events in the suburban city of Surrey, B.C. has resulted in this post for one of the organizers.
The motion to designate a month for celebrating Filipino heritage and culture began in November 2016, when Paulina Corpuz of Toronto, ON – a community leader and President of the Philippine Advancement Through Arts and Culture (PATAC) – first proposed the idea with the NDP Members of Provincial Parliament (MPP).
In November 2017, a motion was introduced by Councillor Neethan Shan, and the City council passed the motion unanimously. Thus, Filipino Heritage Month was officially established in the City of Toronto, and was celebrated for the first time last June 2018.
The result of this motion being passed in Toronto was that the provincial government of Ontario and the federal government of Canada took notice. Several days after this motion was passed, MPP Raymond Cho of the Progressive Conservatives presented a motion to declare June as Filipino Heritage Month. While this motion was not passed, it sparked a number of other petitions (in the community level) and motions (in the parliament level) being brought forward.
Some of those who submitted petitions, included:
- Organizers of the Calgary-based Fiesta Filipino annual cultural festival, who urged for the month of September to be declared Philippine-Canadian Heritage Month in Alberta and garnered over 2,000 signatures
- Edmonton parliamentarians Christina Gray, Nicole Goehring, and Rodrigo Loyala, together with the Edmonton-based Philippine Arts Council, who put up an online petition entitled “Alberta Legislature to Declare June as Philippine Heritage Month”
- Surrey Philippine Independence Day Society (SPIDS) spearheaded a petition in support of the motion as requested by MP Salma Zahid through MP Randeep Sarai. The petition garnered hundreds of signatures.
Finally, last year, Salma Zahid – Member of Parliament for Scarborough Center – proposed a motion to expand Filipino Heritage Month from the local to the national level, and the motion was passed unanimously in the House of Commons on October 30, 2018. This was a huge success for all those who petitioned, and at last, Filipino Heritage Month would officially become a reality across Canada.
Considering that Filipino Canadians represent the third largest subgroup of overseas Filipinos and one of the fastest growing ethnic groups in Canada, it is fitting to have a month designated for celebrating Filipino heritage and culture in Canada. As Filipinos living in Canada we are proud to see our culture being recognized, and we will be celebrating it through many exciting events scheduled to happen across Canada this coming month.
Check out this list of just some of the many events that are happening Canada-wide for Filipino Heritage Month 2019!
- June 4: Filipino Independence Day Vancouver @ Telus Garden (8:30 – 11:00 am)
- June 8: Fraser Valley’s Pinoy Heritage Festival @ Rotary Stadium, Discovery Trail in Abbotsford (5:00 pm)
- June 8-9: Philippine Days Festival @ Waterfront Park in North Vancouver (10:00 am – 6:00 pm)
- 11th Annual Philippine Independence Day Celebration in Surrey June 16, Sunday 10am-4pm Bridgeview Park Centre 11475 726A Street Surrey FREE Admission, Free Food, Santacruzan, Father’s Day Special
- June 21: Vancouver Filipino Cultural Series – Jose Rizal @ Vancouver Public Library, Kensington Branch (3:00 – 6:00 pm)
- June 1: Philippine Heritage Month Kick-Off @ Kingsway Mall in Edmonton (1:00 – 5:00 pm)
- June 6: Filipino Independence Day Edmonton @ Telus House (8:30 – 11:00 am)
- June 6: Filipino Independence Day Calgary @ Telus Park (8:30 am)
- June 17: Philippine Cuisine Festival Gala @ The Winston Golf Club in Calgary (5:00 – 8:00 pm)
- June 22-23: Filipino Fiesta 2019 @ Borden Park in Edmonton (11:00 am – 6:00 pm)
- June 15: Philippines Festival in Saskatoon Pop-Up @ Cosmo Civic Centre (11:00 am – 6:00 pm)
- June 16: Pinoy Ako Eh! (I Am A Filipino Eh!) @ Access Communications, 2250 Park Street in Regina (10:00 am)
- June 1: National Filipino-Canadian Heritage Celebration @ Maples Collegiate in Winnipeg (4:00 – 9:00 pm)
- June 7: Philippine Heritage Independence Day Celebration @ Maples Collegiate in Winnipeg (5:00 – 8:00 pm)
- June 8-9: Manitoba Filipino Street Festival @ Maples Multiplex Grounds & Community Centre in Winnipeg
- June 13: MAFTI Cultural Night @ Tyndall Park School in Winnipeg (6:00 pm)
- June 1: Filipino Heritage Month Kick-Off @ Albert Campbell Square in Toronto (9:00 am – 11:00 pm)
- June 1: Free Film Screening – Oro, Plata, Mata @ KCCC Grand Hall in Mississauga (2:30 pm)
- June 13: Filipino Heritage Month (Halo-Halo) Celebration @ Brampton City Hall (5:00 pm)
- June 22: Pinoy Fiesta & Trade Show @ Metro Toronto Convention Centre (9:00 am)
- June 24: Filipino Heritage Month – Halo Halo for Youth @ Toronto Public Library, Barbara From Branch (4:00 pm)
- June 9: Philippine Independence Ball @ Holiday Inn in Montreal – 6500 Cote de Liesse Rd. (6:00 pm)
- June 12: Flag Raising Ceremony @ FAMAS Headquarters in Montreal (9:00 am)
- June 15: Independence Parade @ McKenzie King Park in Montreal (11:00 am – 7:30 pm)
- June 30: Filipino Heritage Month Closing Event @ McKenzie King Park in Montreal (9:00 am)