Alberta is a province where, especially in the cities, most people come from somewhere else. Even those born in Alberta, typically trace their ancestry back only a generation or two to such parts of the world as Eastern Europe, especially Ukraine. Cosmopolitan Edmonton is the destination for many new arrivals from all corners of the world. The Edmonton Heritage Festival, celebrated the first long weekend in August, brings together most of these cultures to show off their foods, traditional costumes, crafts, and dance. Arabs and Israelis, Serbs and Croatians all participate in an event that is relatively free of politics. Unfortunately, one casualty of local ethnic politics, has been that a major Edmonton community, the Sikhs of Punjab, have historically been excluded. Though obviously culturally distinct from the rest of India beyond just religion, festival organizers have insisted that they be lumped under the Indian umbrella. The rationale for this is somewhat puzzling, given that there is a separate pavilion for French Canadians. This one complaint aside, this festival is a must-visit.

2002 Richard McGuire

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