Every year the Ottawa Chinese Community Service Centre (OCCSC) organizes community events to welcome newcomers to Ottawa, and introduces them to many organizations and agencies that are able to help them settle down comfortably and safely in Ottawa. On May 28th (Sunday), 2017, the OCCSC organized the Newcomers Welcome Fair at Mother Teresa High School. The event was attended by Ottawa’s Mayor Jim Watson, 30 service providers, community partners, and over 800 participants. It was a resounding success! The purpose was to welcome newcomers to Ottawa and celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary.
Camilla Liu was the host; the event began with the opening performance “Red Lantern” by the JingYu Dance Group, followed by a warm welcome message from Sharon Kan, the Executive Director of OCCSC. She then read a greeting message from Catherine McKenna, the MP and Minister of the Environment and Climate Change. Mayor Watson, who officially launched the event, delivered an inspiring speech. MPP Lisa Macleod also attended to greet newcomers.
This is the 7th year the Mayor has attended. One of the families who took a photo with the Mayor last year just had a new baby, therefore they wanted to proudly show the baby to Mayor and take a new photo this year. Pictures were taken with over 70 enthusiastic families. This has become the most popular activity for participants every year.
Red Lantern dance by the Jingyu Dance Group
Sharon Kan read greeting from Minister and MP Catherine McKenna
Mayor had photo taken with a family and their new baby
MPP Lisa Macleod greeted newcomers
Services from the different organizations
There were 30 information booths, including OCCSC’s Settlement Services, Language Training, Employment Support, and Services for Syrian Refugees Program. Others focused on education, parenting, employment, health, banking, housing, insurance, after school programs and so much more. Ottawa Fire Services invited families to experience laser fire extinguishing.
Exhibitors greeted newcomers
Collaborative painting, “Celebrating Canada’s 150th Anniversary”
OCCSC invited Ottawa Tiancai Arts School to design and coordinate a huge collaborative mural, the theme was Celebrating Canada’s 150 Anniversary, and it attracted many children. The painting is 10 feet by 6 feet, combining Canadian cultural elements. It will be given to Mayor Watson after the painting is completed; participating children can sign their name on the painting and card that will be presented to Mayor Watson.
Children participated in collective mural painting
Children and teachers had their photo taken with Mayor
Extremely Popular Talent Show
It was the first year that OCCSC offered talent show opportunities to the immigrant children and youth. Over 40 children from Ottawa performed, which included Hiphop, Tap, Cucurbit Flute, Pipa, violin, piano, singing and rhythmic gymnastics by the Barrhaven Rhythmic Gymnastics Club. It showcased the talent of immigration youth and children in the community. All performances drew attention from audience. More importantly, all parents and children appreciated the opportunity to perform, while offering the younger generation the opportunity to showcase their talent and develop their self-confidence. All performers were very excited to receive souvenirs and appreciation certificates from OCCSC.
Rhythmic gymnastics performance
Michael Jackson dance
Cucurbit Flute Performance
Parents took photos of the performers
Performers received souvenirs and certificates
Pre-celebrate International Children’s Day
OCCSC prepared activities for children and their parents, included a bouncy castle, hosted by the Ottawa Academy of Martial Arts, face painting, various balloon animals, a crawling competition organized for babies aged 6 to 12 months, and an interactive game “ chasing tails” for older children and their parents.
Lucky Draw and various gifts
There were over 40 raffle gifts, generously donated by our exhibitors and community partners, including a Mayor’s Welcome Basket, a Godiva Basket from Councillor Michael Qaqish, restaurant/health and wellness certificates, free passes and tickets for local attractions and museums, gift certificates for Drama, Martial Arts, English and Math after school activities, etc. Free Welcome Packs were offered by CRCRR, over 80 eligible participants received a free Welcome Pack.
Newcomers received Free Welcome Pack
Lucky Draw Winner
Hand-Made Delicious Food from Happy Kitchen
Our “Happy Kitchen, Healthy Living” project is held every Friday at the Nepean Community Health Center, where new immigrants learn to cook, make friends, find out information, volunteer, and participate in society. The students sold their handmade goods in a bake sale with various delicacies such as twisted bread, cinnamon bread, special Chinese Shaanxi cold noodles and more. We raised $581! The proceeds of the sales go towards Happy Kitchen projects.
Happy Kitchen Team
Event Volunteers with some of the OCCSC staff
We would like to acknowledge Mayor Watson for his continued support. The Newcomers Welcome Fair was made possible thanks to OCCSC’s generous sponsors, donors and partners listed below: