The Year of the Rooster made its debut at Newmarket’s Inaugural Lunar New Year Celebration. This free event took place on February 5, at Newmarket’s Old Town Hall, where members of the community and both local and foreign dignitaries came out to celebrate diversity. The full-house event was hosted by Wasim Jarrah Real Estate Services, in partnership with the Federation of Chinese Canadians in Markham (FCCM) and the Federation of Chinese Canadians in York Region (FCCYR), with support from TD Canada Trust.
Face painting, a matching game and chopstick challenge were just some of the activities children were invited to enjoy on the main floor. Cynthia’s Chinese Restaurant and Cynthia Paradise were among the event sponsors, and served up some delicious Asian cuisine from the minute guests walked through the door. Newmarket’s Old Town Hall was an appropriate venue, and a first look for many as it reopened its doors in September following a multi-million dollar restoration project. The revitalization of the historic Old Town Hall, located at 460 Botsford St., was commissioned by the Federal and Provincial Government to serve as a community hub for arts and culture.
This Chinese New Year Celebration not only promoted participation in arts and culture, but united friends and families from varying backgrounds. With our fast growing communities becoming so rich in diversity, it was a wonderful representation of who lives here in Newmarket and Aurora. “We treasure the friendship we are building between cultures,” said Dr. Ken Ng, FCCM Chairman. “It’s great to be able to showcase our cultural heritage, but also for neighbours of different backgrounds to get to know each other,” he said during opening remarks.
Among the honoured guests in attendance were MP Chris Ballard, MPP Kyle Peterson and members of Newmarket and Aurora Town Councils, including Mayor Tony Van Bynen, Mayor Geoff Dawe, Regional Councillor John Taylor, and Ward Councillor Bob Kwapis, Councillor Dave Kerwin, and Councillor Harold Kim. Newmarket also welcomed the Counsel General of Cambodia, Hon. Chatt Chor.
The agenda for the afternoon was loaded with entertainment on the main stage, featuring dance, Kung Fu, fortune telling, and traditional Chinese Instrument performances. Even the God of Fortune made an appearance, delivering red packets and showering all who were in attendance with wishes of prosperity and wealth for 2017.
Each year, one of 12 animals from the Chinese Zodiac is commemorated in accordance to the Lunar Calendar. People born in the Year of the Rooster are characterized as being honest, independent, punctual and confident. With preparations for next year already underway, wechallenge everyone to find out more about their neighbours, and to keep looking for new ways to celebrate cultural diversity here in Newmarket.