The Great Hall at the NWT's legislature welcomed residents and visitors from many cultures on Sunday to celebrate the Chinese New Year of 2020 — the Year of the Rat.
Presented by the integration staff of Aurora College, the local Chinese community, and the NWT Literacy Council, the three-hour free event featured performances, a multicultural pot luck, and other fun activities.
While the thoughts of many were with people in China during a deadly coronavirus outbreak that has killed dozens and forced travel bans, those in the Great Hall said they had come to celebrate their city's diversity.
“Our mission for this event is to show Yellowknifers that there are people from many different cultures who live here,” said Jestine Amora, a co-organizer of the event. “There are over 130 different cultures here in Yellowknife.”
While the event’s focus was on Chinese New Year, it was also a chance for other cultures to be represented, she said.
Yellowknife Mayor Rebecca Alty said the event is a good way to promote and celebrate some of the best features of the city — its people.
“It’s a great opportunity for our Chinese community and all residents to come out and try something different,” she said.
As for the possibility of coronavirus and its associated travel bans hurting the local tourism industry, Alty said it’s too soon to say.
Over at the crafts area, learning how to draw Chinese characters proved a popular attraction.
“This year it’s the rat, but me, I’m monkey,” said Kong Shu Ling, here on a work tourist visa from Malaysia, referencing the 12 Chinese zodiac animals used to represent years.
As for the NWT, she said she finds it a bit chilly.
“My first impression of Canada was the aurora,” she said. “Yellowknife, it’s very cold.”
Chinese New Year dates vary slightly between years, as the festival is based on the Chinese Lunar Calendar which hinges on the movement of the moon.
Photos on this page: James O'Connor/Cabin Radio
The multicultural pot luck was a big hit Sunday for Chinese New Year at the NWT Legislative Building.
As Chinese New Year festivities got under way, a group of Chinese sightseers from tour operator Aurora Village visited the NWT legislature.
Asa Kanamori, four, enjoys some of the delicious food from the multicultural pot luck on Sunday.
Some 200 people watch members of the Yellowknife Wado Karate Club perform.
Uyen Tran and Long Huynh make adjustments to a costume.
Event co-organizer Xiaoyi Yan accompanies Mary Kelly, founder of Music Space, for a rendition of Chinese New Year song Xin Nian Hao.
Yellowknife Mayor Rebecca Alty, right, in the crowd enjoying Chinese New Year festivities.