Chinese Friendship Association Successfully Held the 2016 Annual Meeting of the New Year

2016-02-04 Canadian Federation of Chinese Associations

(Author: Lijia Ping)

On January 30, the Toronto Chinese community awaited to celebrate the 2016 Chinese New Year in Toronto. The Spring Annual Meeting was successfully held in Markham Gibson Centre. This celebration of the New Year had an atmosphere of jubilation.

Although the weather was cold, this did not detract the willingness of patrons to participate in the Annual Meeting, to arrive to the venue and experience the spirit of the New Year. Red parking signs were organized to introduce visitors to the venue. Internal businesses, performers, visitors and recreational activities under the guidance of the staff were conducted in the busy environment. Venues around the walls were covered with posters and different kinds of mascots. People entered the hall feeling a strong New Year’s spirit. According to organizers, about nearly 9,000 patrons came to participate.

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With enthusiasm, the children from the Six Degrees Art studio kicked off the celebration with the annual children’s dance “Happy New Year Greeting.” After the opening dance, the Friendship Association President from the 26 provinces and the Vice President of the Association joined the stage to greet the patrons. In the ensuing six hours of the show, the organizers prepared a total of 52 programs/performances including soloists, choir, dance, fencing, hip-hop and catwalk. The whole show brought together major performance units and local Chinese groups. “My sun,” “Jasmine,” “Hearsay” and other familiar songs encouraged the audience to feel at home and were met with applause.  

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Cultural heritage is a major theme for the Chinese New Year. The Spring Festival couplets are an indispensable symbol. For calligraphy art, artists are free to write word scrolls for patrons, but are also welcome to bring painting and calligraphy works for exhibition. A calligrapher commented that the Spring Festival couplets were not only symbolic in nature but contained the aspects of calligraphy, literature, design and art in one, exemplifying the unique cultural phenomenon of Chinese civilization. Patrons were pleased to observe the importance we attach to the traditional culture of China seen in the calligraphy. The Friendship Association is very grateful to have provided a platform for such artists to communicate directly with patrons. 

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Around the main venue, many stalls were set up with educational resources, financial planning classes, legal advice classes, books, art classes, make-up care, electronics etc. Before each stall were crowds of patrons interested in purchase. The bustling crowds kept the businesses busy. Many nursery schools seized the opportunity to introduce parents and children to their available programs to educate and familiarize families with their business. Booths cost $70. There is a high performance price ratio of promotional activities to other similar large-scale activities.

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Food has been a favourite among visitors. Chinese food gives a concentrated expression of culture. Of the nearly 30 snack stalls, there was tofu milk tea from the western prairie regions of Tibet and Xinjiang, braised lamb Zhejiang from Shaanxi Rouga Mo, Yunnan rice noodle, Wuhan duck neck, Beijing hawthorn balls, Chengdu sausage and Wenzhou muffin. These were all in effect so that patrons could feel at home and enjoy the flavours representative of their country. No additives were used; natural sausage, bacon and other meats were used.

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The Chinese writing circle has also been very active. Teacher Chen Ping set up a booth to promote the “Chinese Writers’ Festival.” She said that in Toronto, there are quite a few famous Chinese writers who write to permeate the literary discourse with Chinese thought and culture and to gain recognition in Chinese circles. The promotional aspect of the Annual New Year Meeting allowed her to introduce these writers to patrons and to encourage, through the Chinese Writers’ Festival, the writing and circulation of more Chinese literature.

Many patrons came in families: adults enjoyed the cultural performances, the young snacked on the New Year’s foods and the children played in the playground and partook in various recreational activities. Mr Zhang from Henan said that before he came to Canada, he celebrated the Spring Festival in a large temple, which his family dearly missed. At the Annual New Year Meeting, he experienced the taste of home. When he heard that the staff convened for 1:00pm for venue layout, he thanked the staff for their hard work and expressed his wish for New Year blessings.

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Reporters on the scene witnessed that the annual Chinese New Year came together through the strong support of the Association and volunteer teams from each Association, always present in a timely manner to solve issues. In each site, you can witness the huge number of staff workers: Han Zhiwei, Yang Shen etc. Having run the annual New Year celebration for five years, these organizers aim to create an atmosphere for celebration that attracts more and more people each successive year. Han Zhiwei is thankful for the success of the activities of the various Associations that increase and strengthen solidarity. Even though people are busy, both in the preparatory and execution process, people take the initiative to solve any problem that arises.

Friendship Association Executive Chairman Yu Ying said in her speech at the opening that the Friendship Association will continue to work with more enthusiasm and spirit towards a broader vision and the execution of more persistent efforts for the Chinese community, practical activities for the elders and to achieve common aspirations for a better future!

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General Consulate Xue Bing participated in the meeting and spoke highly of the convention events. He observed the enthusiastic participation of the Chinese community in community affairs and social welfare, the promotion of Chinese culture, the enrichment of community cultural life and the promotion of unity expansion in cultural exchanges with Canada. His wishes a happy new year, good luck and health.

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The Annual New Year Meeting is sponsored by Wealth Management Ltd and Diamond Huawei Group. Federal personnel Tan Geng, Chen Sheng Yuan, Andrew Chan, Li Zhenguang and Mr. Hu Jing attended and delivered a speech.

To brave the day for ten thousand visitors, outdoor vehicle management proved a difficult task. Zhongxing, Sun Zhidong, Han Jialiang and three other Presidents personally selected 24 people from each Association to make up the outdoor vehicle command team.

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Children’s playground and entertainment

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Children’s playground and entertainment

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Chinese arts and culture showcase

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Old Movie Player; Year in Review

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Bin Liu

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