Embassies in Ottawa kick off multicultural festivities for Canada 150

Caroline
Caroline Phillips
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Published on January 26, 2017

Jim Kyte, dean of Algonquin College's School of Hospitality and Tourism, is flanked by Markus Fisher, director of sales, marketing and events at Andaz Ottawa ByWard Market hotel and its sales manager Sabrina Strang, at Ottawa 2017's launch reception held Wednesday, January 25, 2017, at the Horticulture Building for the year-long Ottawa Welcomes the World multicultural events.

Published on January 26, 2017

Kathleen Woodard, senior vice president with CIBC, is flanked by the bank's Derek Mainville, left, and Denys Ouellet, both district vice presidents, inside the Horticulture Building at Lansdowne on Wednesday, January 25, 2017, for the launch reception for Ottawa 2017's year-long Ottawa Welcomes the World multicultural events.

Published on January 26, 2017

Artists perform a traditional Chinese lion dance in the Horticulture Building at Lansdowne on Wednesday, January 25, 2017, for guests of the reception launch of Ottawa 2017's year-long Ottawa Welcomes the World multicultural events.

Published on January 26, 2017

Ottawa 2017 executive director Guy Laflamme at the Ottawa Welcomes the World launch reception with the event's project manager, Snookie Lomow, at the Horticulture Building at Lansdowne on Wednesday, Janaury 25, 2017.

Published on January 26, 2017

This five-piece Mariachi Band performed at the Horticulture Building at Lansdowne on Wednesday, January 25, 2017, for guests of the reception launch of Ottawa 2017's year-long Ottawa Welcomes the World multicultural events.

Published on January 26, 2017

John Fraser, Liberal MPP for Ottawa South, in conversation Yasmin Asgarali in the Horticulture Building at Lansdowne on Wednesday, January 25, 2017, for the launch reception of Ottawa 2017's year-long Ottawa Welcomes the World multicultural events.

Published on January 26, 2017

Dr. Radha Jetty, ‎a pediatrician at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario, performed an Indian classical dance inside the Horticulture Building at Lansdowne on Wednesday, January 25, 2017, for guests of the reception launch of Ottawa 2017's year-long Ottawa Welcomes the World multicultural events.

Published on January 26, 2017

From left, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson, who's also the co-chair of Ottawa 2017, with Ottawa city councillor Jean Cloutier, who's on the board, greet Mexican Ambassador Agustín García-López at the Horticulture Building at Lansdowne on Wednesday, January 25, 2017, for the launch reception of the year-long Ottawa Welcomes the World multicultural events

The launch of Ottawa Welcomes the World was like a smooth trip through the Magic Kingdom’s It’s a Small World ride, but with the pleasure of live performers in place of dancing and singing dolls.

It was all part of the kick off for Ottawa 2017 Bureau’s year-long series of multicultural events aimed at celebrating Canada’s 150th anniversary and its cultural diversity.

Plans are underway to showcase the music, food and culture of countries around the world with the participation of 78, or more than half, of the embassies and high commissions based in Ottawa.

Most of the 47 events will run one day and will be held at the Horticulture Building.

Mayor Jim Watson, co-chair of the Ottawa 2017 Bureau, and Coun. Jean Cloutier, who’s also on the board, greeted arriving heads of missions and other members of their diplomatic staff to the Thyme & Again-catered reception. It featured an assortment of wine, beer, tequila and rum with such exotic dishes as black bean, sweet potato and mango stew, sausage and sauerkraut, and piri piri chicken with coconut rice with plantain chips.

Ottawa Welcomes the World “really is a representation of the mosaic that is Canada,” Kathleen Woodard, senior vice-president of lead partner CIBC, told the crowd. “It is about celebrating our diversity. It is about celebrating our talent. It is about representing differences that, when we bring them together as a country, when we bring them together as a whole, we are better together.”

On hand was Guy Laflamme, executive director and producer of the Ottawa 2017 Bureau, an independent not-for-profit funded by the city, province, federal government and private sector.

The group will be heavily promoting Ottawa Welcomes the World in the coming months and expects to draw an influx of visitors to the nation’s capital for its cultural series.

Preparing for Ottawa 2017 has been an around-the-clock job for Mr. Laflamme, who spent years planning such major events as Winterlude and the city’s annual Canada Day celebrations. He expects to take a long break once the year is over, in the form of his well-deserved retirement. “I’m planning on a 30-year vacation,” he joked.

Hundreds of guests were kept entertained throughout the evening Wednesday by non-stop entertainment that included African drummers, a Mexican mariachi band and Chinese lion dancing, complete with the throwing of lettuce at the audience to spread good luck.

A schedule for Ottawa Welcomes the World can be found online here.

Organizations: Canada 150, Horticulture Building, CIBC

Geographic location: Ottawa, Canada

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  • Snookie Lomow
    January 27, 2017 - 18:16

    Great article Caroline .thanks so much for the excellent coverage/ Hope to see you often this year. With Warm Regards Snookie