Our History

Prior to Second World War, Windsor’s early mosaic was rich with ethnicity. The various ethnic communities had built their own churches and organized ethno-cultural clubs in other to meet their religious, social and cultural needs. As immigration increased, so did their needs, particularly in the areas of reception, integration, and adult education. The following organizations were formed to assist newcomers in these early times:

– Catholic Immigration Centre, Lutheran Immigration Centre,

– The Inter Church Council

– Citizenship Council of Greater Windsor

 

While areas of reception, integration, and adult education needs were being met, a new need became more evident; the need to preserve and celebrate folkloric activities. The following organizations were established from the Windsor Ethnic Council:

– Essex County New Citizens Association (1949)

– Windsor Ethnic Council (1954)

– Canadian All Nations Cultural Association; CANCA (late 1960s)

– Essex County All Nations Association

 

Unbeknown at that time, these organizations lay the roots to our present day organization, The Multicultural Council of Windsor and Essex County (MCC).

October 1971, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau adopted Multiculturalism into the official policy of the government of Canada. Immediately, members from over 30 local ethno- cultural groups began meeting weekly to discuss and exchange ideas on forming a local multicultural council. With an initial grant from the Ministry of Community and Social Services, Citizenship branch, a workshop, sponsored at St. Clair College, was held. Approximately 100 ethno-cultural clubs and service agencies in Windsor were in attendance, including the YMCA, St. Clair College, University of Windsor, Metropolitan Hospital and CANCA. It was at this workshop they agreed to form a multicultural council and a steering committee to guide it. On April 8, 1973, the Multicultural Council of Windsor and Essex County was formally established. The steering committee with newly elected directors formed its first Board.

The Board held regular meeting to address the concerns of ethno-cultural communities, providing guidance and counseling through their adjustment to Canada and volunteers provided translation and interpretation services.  As the demand grew, there was a need for more space. The MCC opened its doors in 1975 at 737 Ouellette Avenue.  Other locations included:

– 1100 University Avenue (1978)

– 127 Tecumseh Road W (1983)

– 370 Victoria Avenue (1992)

– 7610 Tecumseh Road East (1995)

– 245 Janette Avenue (2000)

– 7651 Tecumseh Road East – expansion (2003) (2005) (2008) (2009)

– 300 Giles East (2009) – closed -2011

 

In June 1974, we received a $3500 grant from the Ministry of Culture and Recreation, and presented Windsor’s first multicultural Festival down on the riverfront. In 1975, with the assistance of the International Freedom Festival, we included the bazaar, ethnic food booths, and displays of cultural artifacts. In 1976, the MCC submitted a proposal for a cultural grant and Carrousel began to take shape. In February 1976, the June 18th weekend was set and the concept of Carrousel Villages was confirmed.

For many years, one of our main focus remained on preserving cultural and heritage through folk arts. The Ontario Folk Arts Council was our major source of funding, matching contributions dollar to dollar, to The MCC, making participation at the events like the Expo Cultural exchange, Canada Day Celebrations, Freedom Festival concerts, displays, performances, food booths, participation in the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, and performances in Nova Scotia, Kingston and Toronto possible. The 1970s were rich with folkloric activity.

In the 1990s, after 20 years of financial security, the MCC was hit with the loss of core funding from the government. For the first time, program funding and fundraising were heavily relied upon to continue serving our clients. It was at this time, the MCC considered closing its doors. In order to survive the government restraints and cutbacks, we diversified, shifting our focus from cultural perseveration, to offering more services to our ethnic community.

Over the years, we have broadened our horizons without losing sight of our original mission; to promote and encourage a harmonious multicultural society in Windsor and Essex County that is multi-racial, multi-ethnic and multi faith, and to work towards the social equality of all cultures.  We currently have 2 locations to serve Windsor-Essex (245 Janette Avenue and 7651 Tecumseh Road E), over 50 employees, and a variety of programs and services; Settlement and Integration, Language and Skills, Welcoming Community, Translation and Interpretation, Youth Programs, Diversity training, Special Events and many Volunteer Opportunities.

 

Our Achievements

 

  • 1995 Harmony Ribbon Campaign introduced. The Harmony Ribbon is worn as a visible symbol of mutual respect and understanding that we have for one another and as a sign of our desire to live in a community that is free from racism and discrimination.
  • 2002 Carrousel by the River – in conjunction with the Organization of American States
  • Partnership with the Actifest 98 Committee -Ontario Senior Games
  • Windsor Board of Education and St. Clair College Heritage Week
  • Several Presentations, Program and Workshops to students in the city and county
  • Concerts with Ernie Gerenda & Windsor Community Concert Band
  • International Police Chiefs Association passport to the World Conference
  • Dance Workshops under auspices of the Ontario Folk Arts Council
  • 2005 Pan Am Games – Opening and Closing Ceremonies
  • 2005 Champion Award is established celebrating significant contribution first generation Canadians make to our community
  • 2006 Super Bowl 1X
  • 2008 Rotary International Peace Summit
  • 2008 Ontario Special Olympics
  • 2009 Olympic Torch Relay
  • 2012 – Launch of the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s Policy- partnership between MCC and OHRC
  • 2013 International Children’s Games and Passport to the World
  • 2014 – 40th Anniversary of the MCC celebrated by warding 40 community partners with Community Partnership Appreciation Award at the Open House

 

Our Awards

 

  • 1997 a new member agency of the United Way
  • 1998 Government of Ontario Award for Outstanding Achievement in Human Rights
  • 2000 City of Windsor Mayors Award of Excellence in the Arts for Outstanding Arts Organization
  • 2000 – Annual Award for Contributions for Heartcare’s Success
  • 2001 United Nations Accreditation
  • 2001 United Way Faces of Generosity Award
  • 2002 recipient from the Community event honouring the Rt. Hon. Herb Gray
  • 2003 Queen Elizabeth Jubilee award to Kathleen Thomas, Executive Director
  • Certificate of Appreciation – Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, the University of Western Ontario – 2005
  • 2008 Government of Ontario Award of Distinction for Victims
  • 2008 – 2015 Festival and Events Ontario Top 100 Festival – Carrousel of the Nations
  • 2009 Best Souvenir Award for Ontario (Carrousel of the Nations- Carrousel Cookbook)
  • 2011 Top 8th Favourite Festival in Ontario and the 28th in Canada (Carrousel of the Nations)
  • 2011 – Ontario Tourism Award Top 3 Finalist as the Best Marketing Campaign – Carrousel
  • 2012 Community Health Promotion Award for Outstanding Non-Profit at the Bulimia Anorexia Nervosa Association’s (BANA)
  • 2012 Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal to Kathleen Thomas, Executive Director
  • 2013 Carrousel Chairs presentation of Award of Excellence to the MCC 2013 – Ontario
  • 2014 Tourism Award – Top 3 Finalist for the Best Marketing Campaign – Carrousel 2013
  • 2014 Festival Events and Ontario – Best Marketing Campaign Carrousel 2013
  • 2014 Festival Events and Ontario – Best Sponsor Liquid Wild Carrousel 2013
  • 2014 Festival Events and Ontario – Volunteer of the Year Award – Cameron Payne, Carrousel 2013
  • West Jet – Carrousel 2013 award the second favourite festival in Ontario and 5 favourite in Canada
  • 2016 Jean Foster Welcoming Community Award
  • 2016 Carrousel of the Nations – Ontario’s Choice Award for Top Festival Attraction in Ontario 
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