The second Monday in October is the official Thanksgiving day in Canada. So for this year, it was on Monday October, 10th. Prior to Thanksgiving day, I got to hear through ISANS (Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia) that Engage Nova Scotia was organizing a Thanksgiving event for immigrant/newcomer families.
The event was to match an immigrant/newcomer family and a Canadian family for a meal in the latter’s home on Thanksgiving day so as to foster relationship between both families and in turn build the community. I thought it was a brilliant idea and I talked to my husband about us signing up for it. Unfortunately, after we registered, we were later informed that they had more immigrant/newcomer family sign ups than they envisaged, hence they couldn’t cater for all the families. The first edition was done last year, so they had perhaps planned according to the number of families they hosted last year.
Fast forward to weeks after Thanksgiving, I received an email and then a call informing us of another Thanksgiving event that was organized to cater for those of us that couldn’t celebrate it with a Canadian family earlier.
So the event tagged ‘Share Thanksgiving 2’ was a community dinner that took place at Pier 21 on Tuesday November 22nd, 2016. It was through a partnership between Engage Nova Scotia, Pier 21, Scotiabank, and ISANS – Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia. According to the organizers, over 400 people came together to share a Thanksgiving dinner while building a more inclusive, vibrant, and resilient community.
My family was matched with a Canadian family, The Allen family. It was fun sharing table with Duncan and Jane along with their adorable children, Luella, Maggie and Miles. We connected easily, enjoyed the meal and had good chat sessions as they were super receptive and friendly. I was particularly drawn to their very well behaved and disciplined children.
Even though we have met and made friends here and there in Canada, the Allen family would be our first Canadian family with whom we have sat down so intimately with, sharing information about ourselves and all. I remember Jane saying we should take more pictures so I could have enough to share on my blog, that’s how well we bonded. We exchanged numbers and the Allen family even offered to host us in their home and we also offered to do same.
We also met another couple that we had earlier met in an event (My Halifax Experience event), Christine Qin Yang and Sean Court. Sean shared the same table with us at the My Halifax Experience, so it was nice to see him and Christine again. Especially knowing they also hosted a new comer family at the event.
The event was a brilliant idea in bringing together families of immigrants/newcomers and Canadian families to celebrate Thanksgiving.
Aside from the delicious food (turkey been the main meal since that is what symbolizes Thanksgiving in Canada) and drinks, there were also other side attractions like entertainment, play areas for kids, henna corner for the kids, interview sessions e.t.c.
There were also other dignitaries in attendance who welcomed us all, like the Minister of Immigration, Lena Diab whom I had met before at The ‘My Halifax Experience‘ event and she remembered me. I had written an article about the event and shared it on Twitter. She saw the tweet, read the article, retweeted it and dropped a comment. So it was nice seeing her again.
The Mayor of Halifax, Mike Savage was also in attendance to officially welcome newcomer families to Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Outside the hall, there was a name board where we were all told to place our name tags on, which I guess serves as an attendance register ?.
While Earl of CTV, Canada TV interviewed us and my husband insisted I speak on behalf of the family since he had previously spoken to a newspaper. So the shy me granted the interview.
There is a workshop I attend on Mondays (for 3 weeks) and immediately I got into class the Monday after the Thanksgiving event, one of my classmates announced in class that she saw me and my family on TV and I felt cool ?, but it hurts I didn’t see myself on TV. Though 1 of my coursemates say I can request for the video from CTV. However, Jeff of Nova Scotia helped record the interview so I would share it on my social media pages (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter)
Thank you to Jeff of Engage Nova Scotia for it was him that initiated both interview sessions.
CTV’s Kelly Linehan who was also at the event joined to tell the story. The report can be found in the link below.
It was a beautiful night and we thank all the organizers and sponsors of the event. Below is a survey shared by the organizers for a feedback of how the 2016 edition went.
In all, as an individual and family, we are immensely thankful and grateful for all we have and do not have. There is so much to be thankful for. I am THANKFUL and you should be too. We all have things to be thankful for. Life is beautiful even in the midst of our struggles and trials.
Below are more pictures from the event:
Photo credit: Darren Pittman