Petrusia Hontar figures if people are more aware of the cultures in St. Thomas and Elgin they may be more welcoming to cultures outside their own.
That’s one reason she and the community’s cultural diversity committee are trying to create a festival that celebrates the mosaic of heritage and traditions found here.
“Often if someone doesn’t know about a culture they’ll be more hesitant to approach someone,” said Hontar, a project assistant and researcher for the St. Thomas-Elgin Local Immigration Partnership.
“But as there’s more conversation about things that occur, then people are more willing to go up and talk to a stranger who may look a little bit different or may come from a different background.”
Organizers are in the early stages of planning the festival, which will likely not take place until the summer of 2016.
They’re gathering ideas through an online survey that has produced over 110 responses since it went live in March.
“I think almost every single response has indicated the importance of showcasing food and the different flavours that come from the communities,” Hontar said.