VMACCH logo, click here to return to the home page

About Asian Heritage Month

Canadian Foundation for Asian Culture

The Canadian Foundation for Asian Culture (Central Ontario) Inc. has been playing a crucial role in promoting Asian Heritage Month in Central Ontario in the past nine years. Asian Heritage Month was unanimously adopted by the Senate through a motion by our founding patron, The Honourable Dr. Vivienne Poy. Representatives of the Parliament subsequently signed a declaration proclaiming Asian Heritage Month in May, 2002 following the passage of her motion in the Senate in December, 2001, recognizing May as Asian Heritage Month. In 2005, The Government of Ontario made the same proclamation at Queen's Park.

Asian Heritage Month promotes Canada's diversity. It strives to celebrate the vibrant and growing Asian community from the arts and science to sport, business, and government. This initiative offers all Canadians an opportunity to learn more about the history of Asian Canadians and to celebrate their contributions to the growth and prosperity of Canada. The objectives of our foundation are:

  1. To advance education by providing artistic exhibitions and educational presentations about Asian culture at museums, educational institutions, community centres, and other venues that are open to the general public.
  2. To develop programs that remove barriers to equal participation for racial and ethnic minorities through educational presentations about Asian culture.
  3. To advance education by providing scholarships, bursaries and awards to high school and post-secondary students in the greater Toronto area.
  4. To provide equipment, furnishings, teaching aids, and supplies to educational institutions in Canada and to educational institutions outside Canada who are also qualified donees under the provisions of the Income Tax Act (Canada), with preference to educational institutions in Central Ontario.

We began in 2003 to reach out to the public, especially students in the Greater Toronto Area. We invited them to participate in two parallel competitions – design an official logo and a slogan for Asian Heritage Month.

In 2004, AHM celebrates 150 years of volunteerism by the Royal Hong Kong Regiment. The photo exhibition was opened in an popular mall, frequented by Asians and other Canadians alike, by Her Excellency, The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson. We also held a choral competition among High Schools. The University of Toronto held lectures and there were many other activities.

In 2005, AHM took a leap towards greater recognition and participation by Society-at-large. The Toronto Catholic District School Board, The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), Queen's Park, The University of Toronto, The United Way of York Region, among others, supported AHM in various projects. It was during this summer that AHM received our incorporation from the Registrar of Ontario Corporation under the name of Canadian Foundation for Asian Culture (Central Ontario) Incorporated – CFACI in short.

In 2006, our journey to Multiculturalism gained significant advances. The Toronto District School Board, the TTC, University of Toronto, United Way, The Blue Jays, The Toronto Public Library and the Bata Shoe Museum, among others, were our partners to promote this national programme.

In 2007, AHM reached maturity, with events held territory-wide in Toronto, and spread from there to Oakville and other cities in Ontario. Our partners include the University of Toronto, Toronto District School Board, Toronto Catholic District School Board, the TTC, United Way, The Toronto Public Library, the Bata Shoe Museum, and Foundation to Commemorate the Chinese Railroad Workers in Canada.

In 2008, Asian Heritage Month found its artistic mission. Focusing on "Inclusive Education Through the Asian Arts," the Asian Heritage Month Festival was held in May with Canadian Heritage funding and City of Toronto support. The highlights include a performance by Asian Artists and a Marketplace at the University of Toronto, attended by more than 100 high school students and other members of the public, followed by the Fourth Annual Asian Heritage Month Education Roundtable. There were Asian Photo and Art Exhibitions at City Hall Rotunda and Metro Hall Rotunda, and the first ever Asian Heritage Month Film Festival held at York University.

In 2009, with Toronto Arts Council and Canadian Heritage funding, Asian Heritage Month was able to present two big initiatives. First is the "Virtual Museum of Asian Canadian Cultural Heritage" (VMACCH) at http://www.asianheritagemonth.org and http://www.vmacch.ca showcasing the artistic expressions of Asian Canadian cultural heritage. Second is the 2009 Asian Heritage Month Festival featuring performances by Asian Canadian professional artists, art and photo exhibitions at City Hall and Metro Hall, a Film Festival and lectures.

In 2010, with funding from Canadian Heritage, Asian Heritage Month presented the 2010 Asian Heritage Month Festival featuring an education roundtable entitled "Asian-Canadian Collaboration in Education: Pathways of Enrichment", gala performances by Asian Canadian professional artists, art and photo exhibitions at City Hall Rotunda and Metro Hall Rotunda, a Film Festival and lectures.

In 2011, with funding from Canadian Heritage, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, and Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, the Asian Heritage Month Festival was held successfully. The highlights include an Education Roundtable entitled "Enlarging the Educational Discourse: Lessons for Canada from Educational Reforms in Hong Kong, China and India", gala performances by Asian Canadian professional artists, art and photo exhibitions at City Hall Rotunda and Metro Hall Rotunda, a Film Festival, Asian Heritage Month Lectures, and the first ever Asian Heritage Month National Videoconference Toronto.

In 2012, with funding from Canadian Heritage, Citizenship and Immigration Canada and Ontario Arts Council, University of Toronto and York University, Asian Heritage Month Festival offers a large range of events: an Education Roundtable entitled "Asian Canadian Studies: Theories, Politics, Pedagogies", Pan Asian Celebration at Toronto Public Library featuring keynote speech by Senator Poy on "A Decade of Achievements: Celebrating Asian Canadian Heritage", gala performances by Asian Canadian professional artists with keynote speech by Professor Chan Ka Nin, art and photo exhibitions at City Hall Rotunda and Metro Hall Rotunda, a Film Festival, Asian Heritage Month Lectures, and the Asian Heritage Month National Videoconference Toronto.

In 2013, with funding from Canadian Heritage, Asian Heritage Month Festival features Asian Heritage Month Lecture by Joy Kogawa, Asian Heritage Month Education Roundtable on the theme "Youth, Identity and Asian Heritage" with Plenary Address by Donna Quan, Director, Toronto District School Board; Book Launch of The Honourable Dr. Vivienne Poy's new book "Passage to Promise Land" Voices of Chinese Immigrant Women to Canada," Chinese Cultural Festivals at Toronto Public Library, art and photo exhibitions at City Hall Rotunda and Metro Hall Rotunda, and a Gala Performance of Asian Canadian Artists at Bata Shoe Museum.

Our web-site is http://vmacch.apps01.yorku.ca and http://www.asian-heritage-month.org and the Virtual Museum of Asian Canadian Cultural Heritage can be found at http://www.vmacch.ca.

For the story behind the founding of CFACI, please see Achieving A Dream by Zul Kassamali.

 

Back to top

Objectives

  1. To provide opportunities for Asian Canadians to share their heritage and to promote a better understanding of Asian heritage by focusing annually on the month of May, designated as Asian Heritage Month.
  2. To enrich Canadian culture by building on the achievement of Asian Canadians
  3. To achieve full participation by Asian Canadians in the cultural life of Canada
  4. To build cultural bridges between Asian countries and regions.
  5. To encourage education of Asian heritage and culture within the broader public
  6. To establish a relationship and to co-operate with other persons, parties or Corporations with similar or parallel purposes.

In showcasing Asian Canadian heritage, VMACCH enables Asian Canadians to share their heritage among themselves and with the rest of Canada. It exhibits the achievements and contributions of Asian Canadians to Canada. Featuring works by Asian Canadian artists, it encourages participation in the cultural life of Canada. The website is meant to connect Asian culture to other cultures, and show that it is part of the overarching Canadian culture. It is also a valuable teaching resource on Asian heritage and culture to schools, and the preparation of the website involves collaborations with various parties including other voluntary organizations like Social Service Network, and the Chinese Canadian Photographic Society of Toronto, and mainstream museums such as the Gardiner Museum and the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto.

See Achieving A Dream by Zul Kassamali

The project was made possible with the support of the Department of Canadian Heritage through the Canadian Culture Online Strategy

Board of Advisors

Honourary Chair

Mr. Justin Poy
Patron,
Asian Heritage Month – Canadian Foundation for Asian Culture (Central Ontario) Inc.

Founding Honourary Chair

The Honourable Dr. Vivienne Poy
Founding Patron,
Asian Heritage Month – Canadian Foundation for Asian Culture (Central Ontario) Inc.

Members
(in alphabetical order by surname)

Dr. Lien Chao
Julia Shin Doi
Martha Durdin
Professor Eric Fong
Professor Bernie Frolic
Professor Jay Goulding
Gauri Guha
Zoheir Hasanbhai
Professor Susan Henders
Naushad Hirji
Zul Kassamali
Dr. Jack Leong
Dr. Emmanule Lepri
Dr. Kay Li (Project Director)
Kirk Mark
Alexandra Montgomery
Professor Peter Vandergeest
Professor Wendy Wong

Project Manager: Alicia Filipowich

Back to top

Lead Partner

Partners & Supporters
(in alphabetical order)

Sponsors

Canadian Heritage Building Communities Through Arts and Heritage Program
Acqua Technologies Inc.
Aga Khan Museum
Asian Institute, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto
Bata Shoe Museum
Buddhist Education Foundation for Canada
Canadian Foundation for Asian Culture
Canadian Studies Program, University College, University of Toronto
Chi Ping Dance Group
Chinese Canadian Photographic Association of Toronto
Chinese Collective Arts Association
City of Toronto
Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies, York University
Japan Foundation
Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre
Justin Poy Agency
Moon Pointer Production Inc.
OISE, University of Toronto
ORBIS
Reel Asian Film Festival
ReelWorld Film Festival
Richard Charles Lee Canada-Hong Kong Library
Social Services Network
tiger princess Productions
Toronto Catholic District School Board
Toronto District School Board
Toronto Public Library
WE Artists Association
York Centre for Asian Research, York University
York Centre for Education and Community, York University

Back to top