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May is Asian Heritage Month in Canada – a month-long celebration recognizing the rich history of Asian people in Canada and their important contributions to society. We hope to shine the spotlight on these communities and expand the knowledge of everyone about the diversity found across Canada.

Langara College Events

The Centre for Intercultural Engagement (CIE) is proud to present several events throughout the month of May.

Asian Heritage Month: The Impact of Community Storytelling (Webinar)

  • Friday, May 6 – This engaging dialogue between Cold Tea Collective and It's Harpo explored what it means to be Asian in Canada today, provided perspectives from the East Asian and South Asian communities, and demonstrated how storytelling can support the next generation of the Asian diaspora in being authentically themselves.

    View the event recording.

Asian Heritage Month Panel and Discussion: Continuing a Legacy of Greatness (In person)

  • Wednesday, May 18 – This in-person discussion featured various voices from Langara’s Asian community. This event aimed to create a brave space for panelists and participants to share their personal experiences of being Asian in Canada while celebrating the innovation and perseverance of this community in today’s world. Participants had an opportunity to actively engage, listen, inquire, share, and learn together.

Asian Heritage Month: Punjabi Market Tour (Off-campus, in person)

  • Saturday, May 28 – This free walking tour with our friends at Punjabi Market Collective provided an opportunity for participants to learn more about the first – and largest – Punjabi market in North America, home of the first Punjabi-language street signs outside of Asia. The tour ended with treats from the local community and those who came out left with a better understanding of the historical and contemporary impact of this thriving neighbourhood right next to Langara’s main campus!

Suggested Resources & Events

The CIE has also curated a list of suggested resources which provide a variety of opportunities to learn, engage, support, and celebrate this diverse, vibrant, and growing community.

The CIE is aware this is not an exhaustive list and welcomes input from the community. If you have suggestions for articles, podcasts, webinars, events, etc., we invite you to contact our office.

Engage Check out these local and national events throughout the month of May.

May 1-31 – explorASIAN Festival 2022!

  • Learn more about the explorAsian Festival and all the virtual and in-person events and offerings presented by various community partners for this year's Asian Heritage Month.

May 5 – Have You Eaten Yet? Stories from Chinese Restaurants Around the World: North American Association of Asian Professionals (NAAAP)

  • Join filmmaker and author Cheuk Kwan who weaves a fascinating travelogue of culture, family and place, ultimately revealing how a delicious meal always tells an even better story. Register here.

May 6 – The Government of Canada: Celebrating Innovation and Perseverance

  • This commemorative event showcases the innovation and perseverance of public servants of Asian descent and their impact across the federal public service. Join in as a diverse group of panellists share their lived experiences and highlight their work to eliminate racism and discrimination towards creating a more diverse and inclusive public service. A Q&A session will follow the live panel discussion. 

May 7 – Opening Ceremony: Asian Heritage Month Festival 2022

  • Join the opening ceremony celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the signing of Asian Heritage Month Declaration.

May 7 – Liter Asian Opening Night Event: Finding Our Voices, Telling Our Stories

May 12 – Representation Matters: A Japanese Family Restaurant on Screen

  • Koto: The Last Service is a moving short documentary film that offers a soothing balm to anti-Asian racism by showing the care and appreciation that surrounded the Maeda family's Koto Japanese Restaurant. The restaurant provided authentic Japanese food in the small town of Campbell River, BC for nearly 40 years starting in 1980. Join this discussion with Joella Cabalu (director and producer of the film) and Kenji Maeda (co-producer, and member of the Maeda family) as they are interviewed by John Paul (JP) Catungal to talk about storytelling through the medium of documentary film, and how it can be used to explore and represent the experiences of Asian Canadians while pushing back against discrimination in these communities.

May 18 – Cook and Tell: Vancouver Public Library

  • This Zoom session will be a celebration of Asian cooking to celebrate Asian Heritage month. Share your favorite recipes, your best dim sum spot, and discover VPL resources to learn how to make authentic Asian eats.

May 19 & 20 – Passages of Rhythms

  • Passages of Rhythms is a hybrid full-length evening of cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural collaboration celebrating Asian Heritage Month.

Ongoing – A Seat at the Table: Museum of Vancouver

  • A Seat at the Table is a multi-sited and collaborative exhibition project by the Museum of Vancouver that explores historical and contemporary stories of Chinese Canadians in BC and their struggles for belonging. Using food and restaurant culture as entry point, the project highlights stories that reveal the great diversity of immigrant experiences and of the communities immigrants develop. It also addresses themes of belonging, racism, agency, resilience and reparation as important facets of the complex picture of Chinese migrants and their descendants in the province.
Learn Use this collection of resources for reference all year long.

From the Langara Archives: Rethinking Asian Racialization in Pandemic Times

  • The Centre for Intercultural Engagement presented a talk in May 2021 focused on Asian racialization during the pandemic to historicize this moment within longer histories of Asian migration and consider the different trajectories of particular Asian Canadian populations. The speakers, Dr. John Paul (JP) Catungal and Dr. Christine Kim, drew on their own research on Filipino and Korean diasporas during this talk and aimed to expand conversations about Asian Canadian identities and heritage to include social and economic structures and begin to imagine new, more socially just horizons. Watch now.

Langara Library: Asian Heritage Month Lib Guides

  • Explore resources related to Asian Heritage in Canada, Asian Canadian Fiction, Graphic Novels, and Cinema.

Vancouver Public Library: Asian Canadian History 

  • This collection from the Vancouver Public Library includes useful websites and digital library resources on Asian Canadian history.

Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada

  • Resources for Combatting Anti-Asian Racism & Learning About Canadians of Asian Descent.

The Government of Canada: Asian Heritage Month

  • These Asian Heritage Month resources from the Government of Canada feature organizations and educational resources, noteworthy Canadians of Asian descent, anti-Asian racism resources, and events in Asian Canadian history.

Uplift Asian

  • Uplift Asian is a new series of programs to celebrate Asian cultures and perspectives and push back against discrimination in Asian communities. Discover authors and artists and hear discussions with Asian thinkers who represent a diversity of experiences across Asian communities in Vancouver. Replays are available of many interviews and panel discussions from earlier in the year.

National Film Board of Canada

  • Enjoy this curated selection of films that celebrate the many achievements and contributions of Canadians of Asian descent who, throughout history, have done so much to make Canada the culturally diverse, compassionate and prosperous nation it is today.

Cold Tea Collective

  • Cold Tea Collective is a Vancouver-based, new media platform, sharing the real stories, perspectives, and experiences of North American Asian millennials. They are passionate about providing Asian millennials a platform to better understand and connect with themselves and the world around them.
Support Support local Asian-owned businesses, creators, and artists throughout the year.

Support Asian-owned Businesses in Vancouver

  • A small curation of Asian-owned businesses around Vancouver. This list in not even close to exhaustive, so we encourage you to support your local Asian communities in and around the lower mainland.

Shervancouver

  • Sher Vancouver is a registered charity for LGBTQ+ South Asians and their friends and families in Metro Vancouver, B.C.

Richmond Night Market

  • Founded in the year 2000 by entrepreneur Raymond Cheung, the Richmond Night Market has grown from modest beginnings since its first location at the Continental Centre on Cambie Road. Richmond Night Market is the largest Night Market in North America and has become an international attraction, attracting over 1 million visitors each year. Be sure to check out this year’s Summer Magic Rainbow market starting April 29.

I’ll Know It When I See It™

  • This two-woman show creates sweet and slightly snarky paper goods™ from Vancouver, BC, Canada. From greeting cards to wine tags, stickers to calendars, and everything in between, I'll Know It When I See It provides sometimes nostalgic, often funny stationery that will bring a smile in the mail or on the desk. Bonus fun fact: Both Cassie and Christine are Langara Alumni of the Display + Design program, now known as Design Formation.
Listen Tune in to a wide variety of audio files at home or on the go.

Leader Talks with Anne-Marie Pham: Ep 9 | Level Chan

  • The Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion presents Leader Talks with Anne-Marie Pham, Executive Director of CCDI. In this episode, meet Level Chan, a lawyer originally from Alberta, who now calls Nova Scotia home. His unique experience of being an Asian lawyer in predominantly Caucasian Atlantic Canada has helped him develop a passion for issues around diversity and inclusion. Listen now.

The Secret Life of Canada (CBC)

  • The Punjabi Market: How did Vancouver end up with the oldest Little India in North America? We look back at the history of South Asian people in British Columbia to learn how the Punjabi market formed and why the next generation of community members is trying to preserve this one-of-a-kind neighborhood. Available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
  • Chinatown: Most major cities across Canada have a Chinatown - but how did they start, and why? This episode, a look at the early history of Chinese people this side of the Pacific, and the historic Chinatown in B.C. that predates Confederation. (Hint: it's not in Vancouver.) Listen on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
  • Shout Out to Irene Uchida: Meet Irene Uchida. A Japanese Canadian scientist, she was one of thousands of Japanese Canadians who were imprisoned as part of the Japanese Internment during WWII. Dr. Uchida went on to become a ground-breaking geneticist, transforming maternal and fetal health around the world. Listen on Spotify.
  • Shout Out to Madhu Verma: Many Canadians may not have heard of Madhu Verma but her almost fifty years of social activism has greatly shaped the current landscape of Fredericton, N.B. and Canada's East Coast. Listen on Spotify.
  • Shout Out to the Gay Asians of Toronto (GAT): Formed in 1979, the Gay Asians of Toronto (GAT) is thought to be the first LGBT group for non-white queer people in Canada. Available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
  • Where is Japantown? Why isn't there a Japantown in every major city across Canada? This episode, we look into early Japanese Canadian history and figure out the “Asiatic Exclusion League” is not what we thought it was. Then, with the help of Lisa Uyeda from the Nikkei Museum we connect the dots between internment during the Second World War and the huge fallout for multiple generations. And what happened when theatre artists Julie Tamiko Manning and Matt Miwa, found out their families were both sent to Tashme — the largest internment camp in B.C. Listen now. 

Be Antiracist with Ibram X. Kendi - Black & Asian American Solidarity: Exchanging Ideas, Sharing History

  • In the process of creating an antiracist, multiracial democracy we can learn a lot from the often-overlooked solidarity between Asian and Black Communities throughout history and today. Available on Apple Podcasts.

The Nameless Collective Podcast

  • The Nameless Collective Podcast is hosted by Milan Singh, Naveen Girn, and Paneet Singh - a trio of historians, researchers, and explorers who travel to the archive to rediscover history, solve mysteries, and provide a space for the untold histories of Vancouver's South Asian community. A South Asian History and Vancouver History Podcast produced by Manjot Bains and Jugnistyle.com. Listen on PlayerFM.

Pearls of Wisdom Podcast

Brown Girl Guilt Podcast

  • Brown Girl Guilt is a podcast that explores the nuanced perspective of brown girls and women through host Harpo’s softest and spiciest stories. Tune in every Sunday to hear vulnerable conversations rooted in introspection, shared experiences, and the pursuit of a deeper knowing of oneself. Available on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

Asian Heritage Month

Asian Heritage Month is an opportunity for all Canadians to learn more about the many achievements and contributions of Canadians of Asian descent who, throughout our history, have done so much to make Canada the amazing country we share today.

Asian Heritage Month has been celebrated across Canada since the 1990s. In December 2001, the Senate of Canada adopted a motion proposed by Senator Vivienne Poy to officially designate May as Asian Heritage Month in Canada. Twenty years ago, in May 2002, the Government of Canada signed an official declaration to designate May as Asian Heritage Month.