June is Filipino Heritage Month in Toronto


It’s been a long time coming, but the City of Toronto has finally declared the month of June as Filipino Heritage Month, recognizing the contributions of Canada’s fastest growing communities.

The Government of Canada estimates that Canada’s Filipino population is now at 851,410. Filipinos can be found making meaningful contributions to every single province and territory in Canada. 

Toronto, the capital of the province of Ontario and Canada’s most populous city, is home to over 140,000 Filipinos, most living in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).

In marking Filipino Heritage Month, Toronto gives recognition to one of the fastest growing visibile minority groups in Canada.

Toronto is the first city to officially mark Filipino Heritage Month in Canada

Toronto City Council passed the motion by Councillor Neethan Shan of Ward 42, Scarborough-Rouge River on November 8, 2017.

Neethan Shanmugarajah is a councillor for the City of Toronto, representing the riding of Scarborough-Rouge River (which, incidentally, is home to a lot of Filipinos). He’s a good friend of the Filipino-Canadian community, and is working hard at giving them the recognition they deserve.

In a unanimous vote (41 yes, with no dissent), the motion passed with support from members of city council from different political affiliations.

“I congratulate all those individuals and organizations within the Filipino community in Toronto and around Canada that have been working for a long time for this day to happen,” Shan said in a statement.

It was the first time that a motion to recognize the Filipino community was passed at any level of government in Canada.

Shan said that he was happy to have done his part in helping the Filipino community celebrate all that they do in making Canada one of the most diverse and multicultural countries in the world. He encouraged both provincial and federal governments to do the same. 

The motion formalizing Filipino Heritage Month in Toronto came soon after the release of the 2016 Census which showed the number of Filipinos increasing all across Canada.

Statistics Canada showed that Filipinos are the fastest growing  group in the country, with Tagalog becoming the fastest growing language. 

The increase was attributed to the number of new immigrants coming into Canada; the Philippines has consistently been the number 1 source of permanent residents for several years, ahead of China and India.

Filipino Heritage Month initiatives in other parts of Canada

The province of Alberta is another popular destination for Filipino immigrants and workers. Over there, members of the Filipino community are lobbying for the month of September to be declared Philippine-Canadian Heritage Month.

Fiesta Filipino, the Calgary based organization behind the initiative made the announcement during their Youth Empowerment Program.

“The Filipino community is the fastest growing ethnocultural community in Alberta and in Canada. Its also one of the most diverse, in terms of generations, languages, professional backgrounds and cultural traditions,” said Filipino Fiesta’s Dolly Castillo. “Filipinos in Alberta constitute an important segment of the province’s entrepreneurial, labour and professional force in all areas of the economy.”

Alberta is home to over 170,000 Filipinos. Members of the Filipino community in Alberta are enthused about news of celebrating Filipino Heritage Month in the prairie province.

Members of the Filipino community in Edmonton are also spearheading efforts to declare June as Filipino Heritage Month.

“It is important that we preserve our Filipino Heritage even though we are living in a different country. As we retain our culture and heritage in Alberta, the younger generations will greatly appreciate not only the awareness of their roots but also the utilization of what we are preserving for the benefit of themselves and the future generations,” said Cecilia Camba, who is involved in the Edmonton effort.

Different community organizations in Alberta have come together to petition municipal and provincial governments to recognize Filipino Heritage Month.

In the province of Quebec, members of the Filipino community have likewise successfully lobbied for the recognition of Filipino Heritage Month.

Quebec’s most populous borough, Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, unanimously voted to declare June as Filipino Heritage Month.

Next generation of Filipino Canadians leading the way

Rise Tribe, a visionary organization working to help lay the foundation for the next generation of Filipino-Canadians, invited members of the community to create the official logo of Filipino Heritage Month.

Filipino Heritage Month
Joy Panjaitan’s design for the Filipino Heritage Month logo was chosen by Rise Tribe to represent the growing Filipino community in Canada. Photo by @RiseTribe

The Filipino Heritage Month logo, designed by Joy Panjaitan, features a stylized sun in the centre, with its rays in the shape of people representing the growing Filipino community in Canada.

Filipino Heritage Month and Philippine Independence Day

The Philippine Consulate General in Toronto is hosting events and activities celebrating not only Filipino Heritage Month, but also Philippine Independence Day. 

While Toronto is the only city to celebrate Filipino Heritage Month, Canada will be celebrating Philippine Independence Day all across the country on June 12.

Philippine Heritage Month
Philippine Independence Day is on June 12. Find a local Filipino organization and join the activities celebrating the 120th anniversary of Philippine Independence. Photo by @PhilippineEmbassyInCanada

When is Filipino Heritage Month in Toronto? It’s the entire month of June. It’s the first time to celebrate it this year, so expect plenty of activities every single weekend.

Get your friends and family together and celebrate the month with us!

Filipino Heritage Month Activities

Filipino Heritage Month Opening Reception
2 June 2018, 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Toronto Public Library – Malvern Library
30 Sewells Road, Scarborough, ON M1B 3G5

Toronto Catholic District School Board: TCDSB Proudly Pinoy Day
9 June 2018 @ 9:00am to 3:00pm
Francis Libermann Catholic High School
4640 Finch Ave. East, Scarborough, ON

BIBAK Cultural Night
9 June @ 7:00pm to 11:00pm
Holy Rosary Church (Gym)
354 St. Clair Ave. West, Toronto, ON M5P 1N4
Ticket fees: Adult $15, Seniors $10; aged 13-17 $5; under 12 free

Filipino-Canadian Association of Vaughan (FCAV)
Vaughan Filipino Day Celebration
10 June 2018, 9:00am to 2:00pm
Vaughan City Hall
2141 Major MacKenzie Dr. West, Maple, ON L6A 1T1

Markham Federation of Filipino Canadians
Markham Philippine Independence Day Flag Raising
10 June 2018 @ 11:00am
Markam Civic Centre
101 Town Centre Blvd., Markham, ON L3R 9W3

Markham Ground breaking for Jose Rizal memorial
10 June 2018 @ 12:00pm
Box Grove Community Centre
7651 9th Line, Markham, ON L6B 1A8
More details: http://mffc.ca/m/node/330

Philippine Cultural Community Centre
PCCC-Taste of Manila Little Manila Philippine Flag Raising Event
10 June 2018 @ 1:00-3:00 pm.
Bathurst-Wilson Parkette
3749 Bathurst Street, North York, ON

Philippine Independence Day Event
12 June 2018 @ 9:00am
Philippine Consulate General-Toronto,
160 Eglinton Ave. East, 7th Floor, Toronto, ON M4P 3B5

Federation of Filipino Canadians-Ontario
Philippine Independence Day Flag Raising & Program
12 June 2018 @ 12:00pm
Queen’s Park Legislative Grounds

Toronto Catholic District School Board:
TCDSB Filipino Heritage Day-Inaugural Event
12 June 2018 @ 12:00pm to 3:00pm
Catholic Education Centre,
80 Sheppard Ave. East, North York, ON M2N 6E8

Filipino Heritage Month Pamana Exhibits
12 to 17 June
Scarborough Civic Centre Rotunda
150 Borough Dr., Scarborough, ON M1P 4N7

Philippine Canadian Cultural Foundation (PCCF)
Pinoy Fiesta and Trade Show sa Toronto 2018
16 June 2018 @ 9:00am to 9:00pm
Metro Toronto Convention Centre-North Building
255 Front Street West, Toronto, ON M5V 2W6
$15 ticket

Service Employees International Union
SEIU-Filipino Heritage Month Picnic
16 June 2018
(Venue TBA)

GTA Hoops Basketball Tourney
16 & 17 June 2018
Downsview Hoopdome,
75 Carl Hall Rd, North York, ON M3K 2B9

Filipino Centre Toronto (FCT(
Pistahan sa Toronto
16 & 17 June 2018
Nathan Phillips Square,
100 Queen St. West, Toronto, ON M5H 2N2

Philippine Independence Day Council (PIDC)
Salu-salo sa Earl Bales Park Community Picnic
17 June 2018 @ 10:00am to 8:00pm
Earl Bales Park
4169 Bathurst St, Toronto, Ontario M3H 3P7

Knights of Rizal (KOR)
Rizal Birth Anniversary & Wreath Laying Event
19 June 2018
Earl Bales Park
4169 Bathurst St, Toronto, Ontario M3H 3P7

Tita Collective 
Tawa Festival #tawafestival
22 June 2018 @ 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Bad Dog Theatre Company,
875 Bloor Street West, Toronto On. M5G 1M5
More info: https://www.facebook.com/Tita-Collective-1675854855824865/

Filipino Canadian Community House (FCCH)
Filipino Heritage Day Fair
23 June 2018 @ 1:00pm to 3:00 pm
Lawrence Plaza
534 Lawrence Ave West, Toronto, ON M6A 3C9

Philippine Artists Group (PAG)
Annual Art Exhibition
Reception on 23 June 2018 @ 1:00pm to 4:00pm
Exhibition runs until 18 June to 15 July
Neilson Park Creative Centre
56 Neilson Drive, Toronto, ON M9C 1V7
More info: http://philippineartists.com/2018-invitation/

Heritage Toronto Walking Tour
Little Manila: Migration, Food & Identity
23 June 2018 @ 1:30pm to 3:00pm
Meet at Bathurst-Wilson Parkette
(3749 Bathurst Street)
Register here: http://heritagetoronto.org/event/little-manila-migration-food-identity/

PIDC Pageant: Miss Little Philippines and Miss Philippines 2018 Finale
23 June 2018 @ 10:00am to 10:00pm
Elizabeth Bader Theatre, U of T Victoria University,
93 Charles St. West, Toronto, ON M5S 2C7

Vaughan Fiesta Extravaganza
by Filipino-Canadian Association of Vaughan (FCAV) & Media Concept Broadcasting Network (MCBN)
23 & 24 June 2018
Dufferin Clark Community Centre Park,
1441 Clark Ave W, Thornhill, ON L4J 7R4

Philippine Press Club of Ontario’s Almusalan
24 June 2018 @ 9:00 AM to 12:30 PM
FV Foods and Restaurant
2085 Laurence Avenue East, Scarborough, ON M1R 2Z4

Filipino Heritage Month Pamana Exhibits
28 to 29 June
Toronto City Hall Rotunda

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