About Asian Heritage Month
Canadian Foundation for Asian Culture -- Objects
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:
- 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.
- To develop programs that remove barriers to equal participation for racial and ethnic minorities through educational presentations about Asian culture.
- To advance education by providing scholarships, bursaries and awards to high school and post-secondary students in the greater Toronto area.
- 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.
Canadian Foundation for Asian Culture -- History
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.
In 2014, with funding from Canadian Heritage and Citizenship and Immigration Canada, the overall theme was “The Silk Road Connecting the East and the West.” There were Asian Heritage Month Lectures by Donna Quan, Director of Education of Toronto District School Board and Angela Gauthier, Director of Education of Toronto Catholic District School Board, Asian Heritage Month Education Roundtable on the theme "Multiculturalism, Education and Youth", Chinese Cultural Festival and the event “IRON ROAD: Histsory, Opera and Film” at Toronto Public Library, art and photo exhibitions at City Hall Rotunda and Metro Hall Rotunda, a Concert Gala Performance of Asian Canadian Artists at Bata Shoe Museum, and a Film Festival with panel discussions on “Asian Canadian Women in Film”.
In 2015, with funding from Canadian Heritage and Citizenship and Immigration Canada, the highlights included an Art and Photo Exhibition featuring works from Dr. Neville Poy, Mr. Stephen Siu and Mr. Tam Kam Chiu, together with Asian Canadian photographers from the Chinese Canadian Photographic Society of Toronto and the WE Art Association. Other events included an Asian Heritage Month Presentation and Concert entitled "Silk Roads II-Mongolia", an Education Roundtable entitled "The Heart of Asia, Right Here, Right Now: As Celebration of Asian Wisdom Traditions in Canada" with talks, presentations, complete with Japanese tea ceremony demonstration and talks, Taoist Tai Chi, Sufi Dhikr at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre and Aga Khan Museum. The Film Festival was on "Insight and Inclusion."
In 2016, with funding from Canadian Heritage and Citizenship and Immigration Canada, the opening ceremony featured talks on diversity at the Art and Photo Exhibition. The theme of the Asian Heritage Month Education Roundtable was "Filipino Voices in the Arts & Academia." Other events included an Asian Canadian Authors' Panel on "The Japanese Canadian Experience in Literature", an Asian Heritage Month Concert on "Asian Festivals", plus a Film Festival on "Exploring the Themse of "Home" Through Asian Canadian Films.
In 2017, with funding from Canadian Heritage and the Social Sciences and Research Council of Canada, the overall theme was “Canada 150| Unity in Diversity: Fusion of Communities in Canada." There was a series of Canada 150 events around this theme in the Opening Ceremony talks, the Authors' Readings/Concert, the Film Festival and the Art and Photo Exhibitions. The Education Roundtable was on "Tamil Culture: Past, Present and Future."
Canadian Foundation for Asian Culture -- Mandate
The mandate of Asian Heritage Month-CFACI is to pursue the representation and dissemination of Asian Canadian experiences through art and culture created by Asian Canadian artists and Asian Canadians.
Canadian Foundation for Asian Culture -- Mission
To enable Canadians to learn more about the historical contributions made by Asian Canadians and to celebrate their achievements in Canada, we will, persistently, explore, support and promote artistic expressions and creativities pursued and produced by Asian Canadian artists, who continue to bring out the distinctive voices from the diverse Asian Canadian communities into Canadian art and culture.
For the story behind the founding of CFACI, please see Achieving A Dream by Zul Kassamali.
Objectives of the Virtual Museum of Asian Canadian Cultural Heritage
- 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.
- To enrich Canadian culture by building on the achievement of Asian Canadians
- To achieve full participation by Asian Canadians in the cultural life of Canada
- To build cultural bridges between Asian countries and regions.
- To encourage education of Asian heritage and culture within the broader public
- 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
Board of Advisors
Mr. Justin Poy
Asian Heritage Month – Canadian Foundation for Asian Culture (Central Ontario) Inc.
Founding Honourary Chair
The Honourable Dr. Vivienne Poy
Asian Heritage Month – Canadian Foundation for Asian Culture (Central Ontario) Inc.
(in alphabetical order by surname)
Dr. Lien Chao
Julia Shin Doi
Professor Eric Fong
Professor Bernie Frolic
Professor Jay Goulding
Professor Susan Henders
Dr. Jack Leong
Dr. Emmanule Lepri
Dr. Kay Li (Project Director)
Professor Peter Vandergeest
Professor Wendy Wong
Project Manager: Alicia Filipowich
Partners & Supporters
(in alphabetical order)
- 2006 Art Club
- Alphabeta Consultants
- Asian Heritage Society of New Brunswick
- Asian Institute, University of Toronto
- Bata Shoe Museum
- Chinese Canadian Photographic Society of Toronto
- Chinese Pen Society of Canada
- City of Toronto
- Gardiner Museum
- Ottawa Asian Heritage Month Society
- Richard Charles Lee Library, University of Toronto
- Social Services Network
- Toronto Arts Council
- Toronto Catholic District School Board
- Toronto District School Board
- We Artists Association
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
Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre
Justin Poy Agency
Moon Pointer Production Inc.
OISE, University of Toronto
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