The Taiwanese Canadian Cultural Festival, organized by the Taiwanese Canadian Cultural Society, will take place this year over the Canada Day weekend from June 30 to July 8 in Downtown Vancouver.
The festival’s agenda this year is particularly rich, hence, the locations have been expanded, and it will be hosted at the Vancouver Art Gallery North Plaza, Vancouver Playhouse and Annex Theatre.
“[It’s] our largest scale to date with nine consecutive days of cultural exhibitions,” says Margaret Hsieh, the society’s vice chair.
The wonders of Taiwanese culture
Hsieh assures that everyone will have something to enjoy. 14 performance groups from Taiwan and Canada will participate, showcasing Taiwan and Canada’s multicultural and artistic characteristics.
The event will be held in the perspective of “building a bridge between the Taiwanese“ culture rooted in the large community durably established in Metro Vancouver and the Canadian multicultural landscape. One of the aims is to “increase the public knowledge and appreciation of Taiwanese art and culture as part of an ethnocultural community here in Canada.”
The Taiwanese community has been present in Canada since the 1970s, with an acceleration in 2011. Since then, a major part of Taiwanese Immigrants have chosen to settle in the Greater Vancouver metropolitan area. In 2011, 63 per cent of Taiwanese Immigrants in Canada resided in British Columbia (source: Statistics Canada).
The 2023 TAIWANfest’s artistic vision continues to explore the stories that were once taken away from them and challenge the perspectives that tried to shape their identities. The event will be the occasion for the public to observe and capture the wonders offered by Taiwanese culture built over more than 5,000 years of history.
The organizer has tried to expose all the different expressions of the rich and varied arts. One of the many highlights is the presence of Master Hsin-Fu Hung, an acclaimed Taiwanese paper art master traveling to Vancouver to demonstrate and teach paper art to spectators. Master Hung is only using thin paper to express his art and testify of the beauty of Taiwan’s Hakka culture. Master Hung’s outstanding presentation will be magnified by traditional Taiwanese stories that he enjoys sharing with the public.
An inclusive event celebrating Canadian multiculturalism
The Performing Arts Stage, set up in the North Plaza of the Vancouver Art Gallery, will be invigorating with outdoor music and dance performances during the whole duration of the event. Some of these performances have been long awaited (due to the pandemic), and the time has come for artists such as Atayal Taiwan First Nation M-yu Dancers, Taiwan Yangqin Orchestra and Jin YuYuan Puppet Troupe from Taichung City to share their talents with Vancouver audiences.
The organizer is focusing the festival agenda on sharing and combining Taiwanese culture with all the different influences represented directly or indirectly in contemporary Canada. Hsieh hopes to work towards the goal of building an inclusive event, which is evidenced by the numerous performances.
“Canadian Aboriginal and ethnic orchestras will perform, including symphony orchestra, classical string performance, pop music, Aboriginal music and dance, Franco, Brazilian dance and jazz and hip-hop performances, among others. Ranging from traditional local to young trendy bands,” she says. “It’s going to be a very casual and family friendly event.”
Families will particularly appreciate the various workshops and activities that are suitable for children with the focal point of the Vancouver Pops Orchestra & Choir being Wondrous Worlds, a concert performance of music from various Disney films. Founded by Taiwanese musician Tom Kuo, the Vancouver Pops will perform at the Vancouver Playhouse on Saturday, July 8 as part of the festival “in order to bring happy and dreamy music to the audience.”
In addition to this already promising program, it’s worth noting that selected award-winning Taiwanese films – Cloudy, Heavy Carving, The Most Distant Course and Mama Ping Pong Social Club – will be accessible online from July 4 to 8 thanks to the collaboration with the Taiwan Film & Audiovisual Institute.
For more information or inquiries, please visit the Taiwanese Canadian Cultural Festival website