MCC Harmony

An inside look at the people, programs, and projects that make our community so welcoming.

Essex County: Newcomers Enrich Our Community

 

By County of Essex Warden, Gary McNamara| April 3rd, 2021

 

Of all the events I attend in my capacity as Warden of Essex County, Carrousel of the Nations is easily one of the most rewarding, inspiring and educational. For more than four decades it has been a movable feast, celebrating the multitude of cultures that make Windsor-Essex so diverse and dynamic and allowing locals to travel the globe without ever leaving their region.

Organizers took it to the next level this year, pivoting creatively in the midst of the pandemic to create an illuminating, virtual experience that enabled Windsor-Essex residents to immerse themselves in the sights and sounds of more than 25 distinct cultures and communities, from African to Bavarian to Korean, Italian and Ukrainian.

Traditional German food schnitzel, bun, spaetzle, salad

Traditional German fare at the Bavarian Village.

The online format worked so well because this award-winning extravaganza, the longest-running festival in Windsor and the oldest cultural festival in all of Ontario, has never been a destination so much as a point of departure. For many, Carrousel of the Nations marks the first time they have been exposed to a particular food or culture. It is usually not the last. The festival marks the beginning of the journey and they will continue to explore those traditions on their own time and in their own way.

Education and engagement like this are really at the heart of what the Multicultural Council of Windsor and Essex County (MCC) is all about. The dedicated staff and volunteers help newcomers adjust and adapt to life in Canada while ensuring their stories and identities are not lost but rather woven into the fabric of this diverse and dynamic community.

The success stories we hear about every year at the Herb Gray Harmony Awards are a testament to the vital work the MCC does bringing people together in a spirit of fellowship and friendship, eliminating cultural and linguistic barriers with smiles, support and outstretched hands. Newcomers who arrive in Windsor unable to speak English and without a family network are soon flourishing and fluent, with children attending college and university, pursuing dreams and better lives that would not have been possible without the MCC.

We all know how important diversity is for workplaces to prosper and the MCC’s Diversity Dynamics campaign with ENWIN has been a tremendous success, utilizing social media to highlight positive practices, success stories and steps that organizations can take to improve their operations and communities by placing an emphasis on inclusivity and cultural competence.

The MCC has been an incredibly positive and progressive influence since its founding in April of 1973, less than two years after then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau adopted multiculturalism as the official policy of the government of Canada. It has helped thousands upon thousands of newcomers carve out fulfilling lives in Windsor-Essex and helped ensure our welcoming community embraces them with open arms.

Newcomers have enriched our community in myriad ways over the decades and they have proven crucial to the growth and diversification of our economy. Whether they are working in our factories or on our farms, or traveling the hallways of our hospitals, schools and government buildings, newcomers working for businesses big and small are the engine that helps drive our local economy. Newcomers are industrious and innovative and the work of the MCC allows them to achieve their dreams and maximize their potential for the benefit of themselves and our entire region.

The MCC engages, educates and inspires. Its unwavering commitment to building a tolerant and inclusive community brings people together and lifts up all of Windsor Essex.

 

 

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