Culture and Community
The Heritage Festival has always been one of my favourite summer festivals in Edmonton. The combination of ethnic dancing, music, and food makes me feel like I am taking a short trip around the world within the boundaries of Hawrelak Park.
This year when I was at the festival, while I spent a small fortune on food tickets and endured the huge crowds, it suddenly dawned on me: in the Boyle Street and McCauley area, every day is like the Heritage Festival.
Most obviously, there is a plethora of restaurants offering fare from Asia, Africa, Italy, El Salvador, and other countries, continents, and cultures. It is not unusual for me to enjoy one kind of cuisine for lunch and another for supper. Plus. the prices often turn out to be much lower per portion than food festival samplings.
Several businesses, especially in Chinatown, offer a variety of trinkets and souvenirs, much like the kinds you can find at festivals. And, this being such a multicultural and diverse area, you can see people from different cultures on a daily basis.
There are several events in the area that tie directly in with the cultures here. East meets West has separate days of festivities for both Chinatown and Little Italy. Chinatown is famous for its Lunar New Year celebrations.The new Church Street Fair, while not a religious event, features tours of churches from different cultural traditions.
Culture is something we can celebrate every day, right here in Boyle Street and McCauley. It is woven into the fabric of the neighbourhoods, offering the chance to learn from each other’s diverse backgrounds and make the world just that much smaller.