Vikings in Vancouver

Leif Erikson’s legendary voyage from Iceland to North America around the year 1000 was arguably the first time a European set foot on North American shores. This trip, and the subsequent history of Vikings in North America, is shrouded in myth, say Judith Anderson and Geoffrey Winthrop-Young. “There’s no doubt that [Leif Erikson] existed and…

The humour revolution

“A dad asks his son: ‘Son, when you grow up who do you think you want to marry?’ The boy goes, ‘I want to marry Granny, she loves me the most!’ The dad says, ‘you can’t marry Granny, don’t you know she’s my mother?’ And the boy replies, ‘Well, you married my mother, why can’t…

A look at the Slovak community

The Slovak community in Vancouver is small and close-knit. “When we quizzed people about the estimated size of this community in the lower Mainland, we got numbers ranging from 2,000–20,000,” chuckles Jozef Starosta, a member of the local Slovak community of Coquitlam and New Westminster and founder of Slovo z Britskej Kolumbie magazine. “But the…

“Digital natives” don’t all speak the same language

UBC Public Scholars Award recipient Ron Darvin is researching the diverse ways in which students use technology. His work explores the potential impact that varying levels of digital literacy has in society. Darvin worked as a language instructor, teacher trainer and university lecturer in Manila, capital of the Philippines, and Vancouver before returning to school…

A sweet and Jewish September

Sept. 9 marks the beginning of the three-day Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. It’s a time when connections are strengthened, when Jews think about how ties bind them to others in Jewish society and to the environment sustaining that society, says Michael Schwartz. “New Year’s in a secular culture is just ‘get drunk and…

Ethnic identity in writing

With eleven featured authors, LiterASIAN is the biggest celebration of Asian Canadian writing in the city. The festival runs Sept. 21–23 and will provide an array of stories, styles and events, ensuring something for every literature lover to enjoy. One of the featured authors at this year’s festival is Kevin Chong, whose most recent book, The…

A Serbian welcome

At the upcoming Serbian Days Festival, all cultural communities are welcome to come and experience Serbian culture, says Natasha Ignjatovic. “[Serbians are] known for our hospitality,” says Ignjatovic, a long-term volunteer with Vancouver’s Serbian community, who currently works as treasurer at the church where the festival will be held. “Tourists that come to visit Serbia;…

Connection, conversation, change: the three C’s of mental health journeys

Mental Health and Social Justice Activist Shilpa Narayan will be a workshop facilitator at the City of Surrey’s annual Social Innovation Summit on Sept. 6 at Surrey City Hall. Narayan’s workshop, entitled “How a Struggle Became a Journey: The Importance of Connection & Conversation for Youth and Mental Wellness,” is based on her personal experiences…

Celebrating with the Brazilian community

The Brazilian community in the Greater Vancouver Area is getting more attention this year with their CarnaWest event, bringing Brazilian music, food, and Capoeira to New Westminster on August 4th. The Brazilian Community Association of British Columbia (BCA-BC) was created in 1996 to help Brazilians integrate into B.C. and promote their culture. Since then, they…

A matter of solidarity: the Chingari platform

Mahwish Yousaf has guided, counselled and mentored female immigrants in need for over two decades. She believes that more women could be supported through community-based partnerships and volunteerism. “I’m only one person,” says Yousaf. “To help more women, I knew I would have to build a network of resources to reach them all.” With a…

Cretan community’s love of dance

Greek Summerfest will be returning to Vancouver for the 32nd consecutive year from July 5–15. With many different Greek societies and associations in the Metro Vancouver area, including the Cretan Association of B.C., the festival has grown from one weekend in 1987 to an event that spans 11 days and is attended by over 40,000…

Happy Eid in Vancouver

Muslim festival Eid ul-Fitr is little celebrated in Vancouver, but Sarah Zafar and her fellow volunteers are aiming to change that. On June 17, they are organizing Vancouver’s first ever Eid ul-Fitr Festival. It’s Muslim tradition with a Vancouver twist. “This is one of the Islamic celebrations [for] all Muslims around the world. It’s a…

Speaking Russian in Vancouver

With its Cyrillic alphabet, the Russian language is one of the most complicated to learn. But, as Inna Mikailov and Stan Kriventsov explain, many Vancouverites speak Russian − and they’re not all from Russia. June 6th, Russian Language Day, marks the beginning of a summer of events designed to unite Russian language speakers in Vancouver.…