It wasn’t hundreds, but rather thousands of capital residents joined in the celebrations of National Indigenous Peoples Day over the weekend.
The annual Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival took place at Vincent Massey Park from June. 20 – June 23 and provided visitors an opportunity to learn and share in the celebrations of Indigenous cultures.
“The event started as bringing our community together and celebrating our culture,” said Trina Mather-Simard, Producer of the Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival. “But what is has grown into and what I love is that it welcomes all Canadians to learn about our culture as well as join in the celebrations with us. It’s an opportunity to share and educate people, and welcome them to learn a little bit more of our history and culture.”
The festival had a wide variety of activities for Ottawans to take part in which included spectating the pow wow competition, interactive arts and culture workshops where people can add to murals or create their own pieces, a family fun zone for kids to play and interact, a live main stage that ran all weekend with cultural, traditional, and contemporary artists, and over 75 vendors with food, arts, and crafts.
“There’s an immense of things to see and do and really a lot of people join us for the full weekend and have a different experience throughout the whole weekend,” said Mather-Simard.
One thing Mather-Simard loves about the event is the different experiences each year at the festival that Canadians can enjoy.
“I love the festival because every year there is so much talent in our community and so many different ways to express it that were able to do something new every year so people are able to meet new artists and have new experiences,” said Mather-Simard. “We just added the culinary features which is surprising to me in the last two years and now were bringing in chefs across Canada and people are experiencing our culture in a new way through that.”
Although attendance numbers have not been officially recorded for this year’s festival. Mather-Simard believes that they will potentially break their previous records. Last year the event saw around forty-thousand visitors.