By Cole Parkinson
Coming Nov. 4, Taber Adult Learning will be hosting their ‘Door to the World’ event at the Taber Community Centre. The event is a way to invite the community at large, local businesses, and newcomers/immigrants to meet under one roof and experience a variety of different cultures.
“The event has been in the works for quite some time and it’s kind of a revamp of an event that we used to hold. We have always previously had an event that was multicultural education night. It used to be held in tandem with a daytime professional development workshop and we would have the event at night. It was a bit much, and some people felt it was just too long of a day. It was a big thing for staff to go all day and then go in the evening as well,” explained Zyna Taylor, outreach project coordinator. “That previous iteration of the event was held for newcomers to the community. So, they could come to the event, they would meet people from the community who provide different services.”
As far as the importance of the event, Taylor says it’s an easy way for the community to learn about other cultures while also providing a safe space for newcomers to learn more about their new community and for the community to learn about them.
“I think it’s really important — I think a lot of people feel they are aware of different cultures and people in the area with different cultures. They feel they know that, but they may not always get a chance to engage with those people and their culture,” she explained.
“There are enough newcomers in our community that it is important for people to understand a bit about them. To maybe understand a bit about them, to maybe learn about how to welcome them and help them integrate and how to support them. The goal is for all of these folks to be active members of the community.”
Taylor also explained newcomers were heavily involved in the event itself as they will have plenty of booths to showcase their culture, their food, and their stories.
“They are really pleased Canadians want to know about them and want to ask questions,” she said.
“They’re coming as attendees, but they’re also integrally involved in the event itself.”
Taylor explained a variety of companies would attend to help offer their services to those new to the community who didn’t know where to go.
“People who provide basic services and the newcomers come and see people in the community, which would help launch them into the community a little better.”
While the previous version of the event focused on newcomers, the new iteration is for everyone in Taber.
Whether you own a business, have lived in the community your entire life, or you just want to learn about different cultures, this event is for you.
“We have shifted that — the event is no longer just for newcomers, it’s for everyone. We’re still going to have a newcomer immigrant focus to it,” continued Taylor. “We’re celebrating newcomers and immigrants, and we’re celebrating the multi-cultural nature and diversity of this area. Certainly, even people who were born here have history and roots in other cultures. What we’re doing this time is opening it up to the community, we’re going to celebrate cultures, and hopefully, people come and enjoy themselves.”
If you are a business owner in the area, Taber Adult Learning welcomes you to submit your name for a booth to be a part of the event.
“We’re still having agencies exhibits, but we’re also doing cultural exhibits, great food from different countries, music and dancers, and we have something call life story exhibits. Those are feature stories of individuals or families in this area that are newcomers and it tells their story about what it was like for them coming to Canada, making a life here, and integrating into the community,” she said, and she also explained businesses have already started reaching out. “We’ve had quite a few actually. We’ve got representation from a lot of different people in the business community and different types of business. We’ve had lots of donations. People are supporting us with cash and things like door prizes and services. Those folks will be there and then we’ll have other people from the community.”
The event will be under the Alberta Restrictions Exemption Program, and proof of vaccination will be checked at the door.
“There will be people at the door asking for proof of COVID vaccine. Once inside, we will ask people to mask,” confirmed Taylor.
Those who perform will be able to do so without a mask and you will be permitted to take your mask off when eating or drinking at the event.
Taber Adult Learning has also partnered with the Taber Foodbank for the event.
“We have a charitable partner with this event — the Taber Foodbank. We will have some bins available, so we encourage people to bring a non-perishable food item or if they want to make a cash donation, we will have a dropbox available for that as well.”