Latin festival aims to reunite community post-riot
Published Friday, June 24, 2011 4:40PM PDT
Latin Americans in Vancouver will take Granville Street on Sunday to showcase their culture in an eco-friendly festival hoped to bring the community back downtown after the 2011 Stanley Cup riot.
Carnaval del Sol is Vancouver's feature Latin American festival and is a joint effort between the non-profit organization Lantincouver and the City of Vancouver. It's also one of the first celebrations downtown after the riot on June 15, which caused upwards of $5 million in damage to more than 60 businesses.
"We want to bring the Latino passion to the streets and shine together with a positive vibe in this beautiful city again," Paola V. Murillo, founder and executive director of Latincouver, told ctvbc.ca.
The city wants the community to support local businesses and celebrate in public spaces again.
"We have witnessed a tremendous outpouring of support for our city in recent days and Carnaval del Sol could not be happening at a better time," Mayor Gregor Robertson told ctvbc.ca in an emailed statement.
"Carnaval will showcase Latin American culture with a focus on sustainability and I congratulate Latincouver for organizing this great family-friendly event," he said.
About 15,000 people are expected to attend this festival on Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., on Granville Street between Smithe and Dunsmuir streets.
"This will be a wonderful and colorful celebration of culture, food, communities together and it will give everyone a first-hand experience with people from Latin America and discover our similarities and differences," said British Columbia Premier Christy Clark in a support letter.
Organizers plan to entertain local residents with Hispanic handmade arts and crafts, an authentic Latin American open-air food court, children's activities, live performances and a soccer street tournament with the participation of the Vancouver Whitecaps and Mayor Gregor Robertson as players.
Latin American consulates are also supporting this initiative and will participate in a soccer match against the city on Sunday.
The festival will feature performances by renowned Latin artists such as Rio Samaya, Aquizamin Garcia, Liliam Santamaria, Mexico Vivo, Grupo America, Dominicanisima and Spanish Passion's Flamenco Latino.
Dr. David Suzuki, co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation, and the Vancouver Greenest City will hold talks at the festival along with other organizations involved in sustainability locally and in Latin America.
"All indications are that human activity is altering the physical, chemical and biological make up of the planet. We need a different model of development and progress and I see the most exciting approach in Latin America, especially Bolivia and Ecuador," David Suzuki told ctvbc.ca in a statement.
Latincouver is a non-profit organization connecting Latin Americans and Latin American enthusiasts in Vancouver. It operates as a social, culture and business portal for the Latin American communities in Metro Vancouver, hosting year-round networking events.