Scarborough – Councillor Neethan Shan hosted a reception to celebrate the City of Toronto’s declaration of Filipino Heritage Month, starting in June of 2018, and to congratulate Filipino Canadians who helped make it possible.
“I congratulate all those individuals and organizations within the Filipino Canadian community in Toronto that have been working for a long time for this to happen,” said Councillor Shan.
The motion to declare June as Filipino Heritage Month, brought forward by Councillor Shan, the City’s newly appointed Newcomer Advocate, passed at November’s City Council meeting, and marks the first time Filipino Heritage Month is recognized by any level of government in Canada.
As part of his motion, Councillor Shan called on Toronto City Council to formally ask the Ontario and Federal governments to declare June as Filipino Heritage Month. Councillor Shan has since written to both levels of government to make the same declaration.
“Declaring June as Filipino Heritage Month will give Filipino Canadians, Torontonians, Ontarians and Canadians an opportunity to learn, celebrate, enjoy and experience the rich heritage and histories of the Filipino Canadian community,” said Shan.
“It will also provide our City with an opportunity to reflect on the many outstanding contributions Filipino Canadians have made in Canada, and in the world.”
The packed reception featured speeches from leaders such as Paulina Corpuz of the Philippine Independence Day Council, TCDSB Trustee Garry Tanuan, and the Philippine Consul General of Toronto. These community leaders shared what Filipino Heritage Month would mean for generations of Filipino Canadians to come.
Elected officials also attended the celebration, including Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath, MPP Raymond Cho and City Councilor Chin Lee. The Ontario NDP introduced a bill in the legislature in November calling on the Ontario Government to declare June as Filipino Heritage Month. MPP Cho called for unanimous consent in the legislature for the declaration.
The evening featured a series of breathtaking performances by Folklorico Filipino Canada, a dance group committed to enhancing Filipino Canadian identity by preserving traditional forms of dance.
The reception concluded with Councillor Shan presenting certificates of appreciation to Filipino Canadian community organizations that supported the Toronto declaration of Filipino Heritage Month by sending in letters of support to Toronto City Council before and during the presentation of the motion at City Hall.
The reception was held at the Scarborough Civic Centre on Thursday, November 30.