On a light blue background in white it's written "Celebrating Communities A Celebration of Connection, Kindness, and Culture" with a little maple leaf next to culture.

It’s pretty clear the Forest City could do with a little more connection and a little more kindness these days. 

That’s just what a group of cultural organizations are hoping to bring to London, ON, during the August Civic Holiday.

The London Heritage Council, London Children’s Museum, Fanshawe Pioneer Village, Museum London, and Eldon House have come together to host a virtual event designed to celebrate community.

Celebrating Communities: A Celebration of Connection, Kindness, and Culture will be held virtually via Facebook on Monday, August 2, beginning at 10 AM and running until 9 PM.

The event will include performances by local artists, storytelling, art and science tutorials, cooking demonstrations, cultural discussions, and interactive virtual programming showcasing a variety of cultures and artistic styles and expressions that exist throughout the city.

A Focus on the Positives

The five organizations joined together to host this event to highlight the strength of diversity in London.

“In light of recent events that have happened in the city and beyond, we felt we needed to come together as a community and share the things that are positive in our community. This event will let people focus on the positives that London has to offer, “said Dhira Ghosh, Operations Manager with the London Heritage Council. “It’s a community where people help each other and embrace each other. We want to highlight the ways community and culture intersect and bring something positive to our community.”

A graphic depicting clouds, sun, horizon, trees, and water with the words Celebrating Communities A Celebration of Connection Kindness and Culture beneath it.
Celebrating Communities aims to highlight the positives in community, culture, and art that London offers. Image provided by London Heritage Council.

What she hopes this event brings to Londoners is the opportunity to move forward — together. “We want Londoners to come together, virtually, for now, to celebrate the aspects that make London great. To understand and appreciate each others’ cultures. To encourage them to embrace their neighbours who may be from a different ethnic background, from diverse communities. And to help each other, and to learn from each other,” added Dhira. 


A Day Full of Celebration 

The event will feature performances from artists such as Drives the Common Man, the Golden Harps Steel Orchestra, Coming Up Roses, Genevieve Fisher, The Alfredo Caxaj Latin Jazz Ensemble, and many more. 

A man in a white shirt and black pants holds a guitar in front of a large black steam engine.
Andrew Joseph Stevens III, also known as Drives the Common Man, films for the Celebrating Communities virtual event in front of Engine 86 at the Western Fair District. Photo provided by the London Heritage Council.

Kids — and kids at heart — can enjoy drag storytime with Drag Queen Galaxy Rose and Drag King Tobias. Or enjoy dancing from the Sim School of Highland Dance and maybe get inspired to dance yourself with a hip-hop tutorial from 519 School of Hip Hop

In fact, Londoners of all ages can learn a new skill, with lots of tutorials and workshops planned. For instance, learn about zine-making or baking bannock. Try using the mechanics of flight to craft the perfect paper airplane! Or practice finger weaving and making your own suncatchers, to name a few. The event is also an opportunity to learn from Indigenous Elders Mary Lou and Dan Smoke, as they share stories, songs, and drumming from under the Peace Tree in Ivey Park. 

Actually, maybe don’t try THAT at home? Dancers from 519 School of Hip Hop demonstrate their moves for the Celebrating Communities event. Photo provided by the London Heritage Council.

When asked to choose which performance or activity she was most looking forward to, Dhira couldn’t choose. “Each of the performances brings something different, bring their own flavour, their own point of interest. And they’re all exciting on their own. It’s a long list of performances that will appeal to a wide cross-section of the community. In other words, there’s something for everybody in this lineup.”

Designing Community 

The Heritage Council commissioned local Indigenous artist and entrepreneur Katie Wilhelm to create a graphic to represent the event visually. 

In her artist’s statement, Katie writes, “With this illustration for the London Heritage Council’s event, Celebrating Communities, I wanted to convey the beauty of the land we call home. My goal is to visually represent the differences between us that bring us together and make life worth celebrating.” 

Artist Katie Wilhelm drew on her culture and teachings to create a design for the Celebrating Communities event. Graphic by Katie Wilhelm.

Using the natural world as her inspiration for her colour palette, Katie designed elements to represent the water, land and living things. She also used the Wampum Belt to represent the horizon and the Dish with One Spoon Wampum as the sunset. And finally, she framed the top of the design with clouds representing the principle of Two-Eyed Seeing. 

On August 2, these representations of community and togetherness will come alive during Celebrating Communities: A Celebration of Connection, Kindness, and Culture. 

You can learn more about the event on the London Heritage Council’s website and follow their event on Facebook for updates. 

Celebrating Communities: A Celebration of Connection, Kindness, and Culture has been made possible by the Government of Canada and the City of London’s Culture Office.

This post has been powered by the London Heritage Council. The London Heritage Council gives a voice to London’s past, promoting heritage projects and advocating for London, Ontario’s cultural sector.

Feature image courtesy of the London Heritage Council, featuring a design by Katie Wilhelm.



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