DiverseCity Multicultural Festival
DiverseCity is the annual multicultural street festival organized by the PEI Association for Newcomers to Canada in collaboration with government and municipal funders, sponsors, volunteers, and community partners. The Festival celebrates the diversity of cultures living on the Island, and showcases food, music performance, dance, arts, and crafts that represent more recent immigrant cultures, as well as the First Nations, and the established descendants of earlier immigration: Acadian, English, Irish, and Scottish.
The first DiverseCity Festival was organized on Victoria Row in Charlottetown in 2007 as a street festival celebrating Canadian Multiculturalism Day. The PEIANC community outreach team was searching for a way to bring newcomers and established Islanders together in a meaningful, celebratory way. DiverseCity enabled newer Islanders to showcase their cultures, skills and talents, and at the same time gave established Islanders a chance to present their cultures to newcomers. The event was held outdoors to engage more people, and ended with a street dance to kick off the summer festival season in PEI.
Subsequent DiverseCity festivals grew larger every year and the feature concert moved from the small Richmond Street stage to a larger main stage. More activity tents, food vendors, and demonstrations were added, and the number of participants and represented cultures grew each year. Street dance remained an important element of the event, with headliners including Ruth Mathiang Band, Scott Parsons Band, Les Gitans de Sarajevo, The Count and the Cuban Cocktail, and I and the Village.
With funding secured as part of the PEI 2014 celebrations, DiverseCity expanded to become a three-county event held in Charlottetown, Summerside and Montague.
The annual DiverseCity Festival is now an important part of Prince Edward Island's summer festival line-up, and continues to take place in Charlottetown, Summerside, and Montague over June and July. Performers, vendors, artisans, community groups, and activity leaders, primarily based on the Island, represent about eighty different cultures each year, from the First Nations, to immigrants who have made PEI their home over the centuries and especially in the last twenty years. In 2016, DiverseCity Multicultural Street Festival enjoyed its 10th Anniversary in Charlottetown, adding a Citizenship Ceremony to kick off the event, which over the day attracted an estimated crowd of 15,000 attendees. DiverseCity Festival is an occasion for everyone to celebrate the Island's diversifying communities which are continualy becoming culturally richer due to immigration.