Diversity and harmony celebrated at first Heritage Festival since pandemic delays

The Heritage Festival returned for the first time since 2019 to complete the August long weekend in Edmonton.

The three-day outdoor event celebrates cultures from across the globe who call the city home.

“This is one of the most important events in Canada,” said Jim Gibbon, executive director for the festival.

“So many cultures come together and we do it in peace and in harmony.”

Gibbon said the festival hit its targeted attendance: half of a normal year’s turnout.

Tony Surtida from the Philippines pavilion told CTV News Edmonton that the smaller crowds didn’t put a damper on the event.

“It’s always a good thing when you run out of food,” Surtida said. “It means people are buying your stuff.”

“It’s a real privilege to be able to show that we are from a different country and we share their heritage and culture,” said Polish dancer Francis Bobiarski.

“We bring it into Canada and help make it more unique – more diverse and really add to what makes Canada so great.”

Premier Jason Kenney was in attendance on holiday Monday. He enjoyed some dishes prepared by countries represented at the festival and cultural performances.

“Canada is unique. Alberta is unique with our model of pluralism. That’s what Heritage Fest is all about,” he said.

“Alberta is open for summer. We are coming back together as a community.”