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Asian Heritage Month Opening Ceremony 2023

Celebrating the 21st Anniversary of the Signing of Asian Heritage Month Declaration by Senate of Canada and Presentation of the Walter Carsen Prize for Excellence in the Performing Arts by Canada Council for the Arts

Date and time: Saturday May 13, 2023, 11am EDT

Venue: Innis Town Hall, University of Toronto, 2 Sussex Avenue (St. George Subway Station) Google Maps

With dim sum lunch reception sponsored by Mr. Justin Poy


Please arrive early to collect a lunch-reception coupon at the entrance to Innis Town Hall to join the dim-sum lunch reception. One coupon per person.

Welcome and Opening Remarks

MC: Ms. Bo San Karantjas

Land Acknowledgement: Ms. Bo San Karantjas

Welcome speeches:
The Honourable Ahmed Hussen (Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion)


Message from Deputy Mayor of Toronto Dr. Jennifer McKelvie

The Honourable Dr. Vivienne Poy (former Senator who tabled the Motion in the Senate of Canada, and Founding Patron, Asian Heritage Month-CFACI)


Photography by Edwin Ho, Past President, CCPST

Mr. Justin Poy (Honourary Patron of Asian Heritage Month-CFACI, and Chinese Canadian Legend Award holder)

Photograph by Edwin Ho, Past President, CCPST

Asian Heritage Month Lecture:

“IT WAS ABOUT TIME.” The story behind Asian Heritage in Canada

A talk between The Honourable Dr. Vivienne Poy (former Senator who tabled the Asian Heritage Month Motion in the Senate of Canada, and Founding Patron, Asian Heritage Month-CFACI) and Mr. Justin Poy (Honourary Patron, Asian Heritage Month-CFACI, Chinese Canadian Legend Award Winner)


Photograph by Edwin Ho, Past President, CCPST

About The Hon. Dr. Vivienne Poy

The Honorable Dr. Vivienne Poy, PhD University of Toronto, is an author, entrepreneur, historian, fashion designer and community champion. In 1998, she was the first Canadian of Asian heritage to be appointed to the Senate of Canada where she focused on gender issues, multiculturalism, immigration and human rights, and was instrumental in having May recognized as Asian Heritage Month across Canada. Vivienne is Chancellor Emerita of the University of Toronto. She is the author/co-editor of numerous publications. After her retirement from the Senate of Canada in September 2012, she continues to write and remains actively involved with academia and communities across Canada.  

Vivienne has received numerous honorary degrees and professorship from universities in Canada, US, China, Hong Kong and South Korea as well as many honours and awards. 

Senator Vivienne Poy signing the Asian Heritage Month Declaration. “In December 2001, the Senate of Canada adopted a motion proposed by Senator Vivienne Poy to officially designate May as Asian Heritage Month in Canada. In May 2002, the Government of Canada signed an official declaration to announce May as Asian Heritage Month.” Learn more at this link.

About Justin Poy:

Justin Poy is an award-winning advertising executive that has built his career and personal life around the understanding and promotion of multiculturalism. He is a frequent keynote speaker on the subject of multicultural marketing and communications and was a National Chair of the Association of Fundraising Professionals Diversity and Inclusion Series. He is the recipient of the Queen’s Golden and Diamond Jubilee Medals, and the Chinese Canadian Legend Award. Justin is the Founding Chair of the annual signature fundraising event, “Glitter” raising funds for the SickKids Foundation and received “Alumni of Distinction” status at both Toronto Metropolitan University and Toronto French School. He is proud to be the Honourary Patron of Asian Heritage Month (CFACI).

Presentation of the Walter Carsen Prize for Excellence in the Performing Arts to Asian Canadian Dance Artist Ms. Yvonne Ng by Ms. Caroline Lussier, Director of Arts Promotion, Canada Council for the Arts


Photograph by Edwin Ho, Past President, CCPST

Yvonne Ng

Photograph by Edwin Ho, Past President, CCPST

Acceptance Speech | Yvonne Ng

Dance by Yvonne Ng

Miniature Solo and Music, an excerpt (2021)

Choreography by Yvonne Ng, in collaboration with

Performer: Kurumi Yoshimoto

Composer: Nick Storring

Outside Eye: Bonnie Kim

Photograph by Edwin Ho, Past President, CCPST

Yvonne Ng | Photo by Sean Howard

Yvonne Ng’s introduction of the work: “In 2020, I was preparing for the premier of my full length work, Wéi 成为 which of course had to be postponed, three times. Finally premiering in summer 2022.  By the time we got into 2021, there was an absence of dance in my life, I was missing the desire to engage in a personal and collective creation. While I was bound to the limits of my physical container, I found it liberating to be able to still create dance through my imagination. This sparked a curiosity around how I could transmit and transfer my imagination to the physical body of another person.     So with inspiration from Nick Storring’s stunning composition from Wéi 成为, which still at that time, was waiting for its presentation premier, and in collaboration with 5 exquisite artists, we created a series of solo variations.  For the 2023 Asian Heritage Month celebrations, I’m going to be showing one of the 5 solos, that Kurumi will perform.”

About Yvonne Ng

Born and raised in Singapore, Yvonne Ng is a choreographer, presenter, arts educator, and founder and artistic director of princess productions. princess productions supports the work of two divisions—tiger princess dance projects (1995) for Yvonne’s activities as a performer, choreographer, arts educator and producer; and dance: made in canada / fait au canada (2001) a presenting division that produces a biennial festival of contemporary Canadian dance works. Her works have toured internationally for the past 15 years. Her company’s arts education programs, Swallowing Clouds (youth) and Moving Stories (cross-generational) are active in 18 library branches and retirement residences.

Yvonne completed her Masters in Intergenerational Practice at York University in 2018. She has taught at and created work for Toronto Metropolitan University, York University, and for six years at Juniata College, Pennsylvania and the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts and La Salle College of the Arts, Singapore. She is currently adjunct at University of Waterloo.

Yvonne Ng received the Ontario Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts for New Talent in 2007 and, since then, her choreography and performances have earned her 15 Dora Mavor Moore nominations and one win. She has received numerous other accolades, including the Muriel Sherrin Award, the Jacqueline Lemieux Prize, the Soulpepper Community Artist Award, the K.M. Hunter Artist Award, a New Pioneers Award and a Chalmers Arts Fellowship.”

About Kurumi Yoshimoto

Kurumi is a Toronto-based dancer originally from Osaka, Japan. She trained at private dance studios and earned her BA in Psychology in 2015 from Kwansei Gakuin University. In 2017, she came to Canada to study modern dance at The School of Toronto Dance Theatre’s Professional Training Program from 2018 to 2021. During the summer of 2019, she trained at the Alvin Ailey School in New York and also participated in ProArteDanza’s summer intensive, which earned her an invitation as an apprentice with the company for their 2019 Fall season. In 2021 Kurumi created a short dance film called “縁-En-” for SummerWorks Performance Festival and also had the opportunity to perform in the dance:made in canada Festival. Recently, since graduating from STDT, she has been working with tiger princess dance projects.

“Capturing the Moment and Beyond—Haiku Photography” by Mr. Stephen Siu (Chinese Canadian Legend Award Winner; Chair of Chinese Canadian Photographic Society of Toronto)

Videos Part I, Part II

Photograph by Tam Kam Chiu, GMPSA

Photo by Edwin Ho, Past President, CCPST

Photography by Edwin Ho, Past President, CCPST

Photography by Edwin Ho, Past President, CCPST

A slideshow to explore the intersection and interaction between photography and Haiku, a Japanese poetic form, in a multicultural context. An image and a Haiku-style short poem are both a moment in time, but they can lead us to see far beyond. Both art forms have the ability to convert complex emotions and ideas into simple expressions, which help create striking and expressive work.

Photograph by Stephen Siu

About Stephen Siu

Mr. Stephen Siu, former Executive Director of the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Toronto, is currently the President of Yee Hong Community Wellness Foundation. Yee Hong is largest Chinese Canadian charity in Canada. Before he settled down in Toronto three decades ago, he orchestrated publicity for the Festival of Asian Arts, Hong Kong International Film Festival, and the major museums in Hong Kong. He has served as advisor to several non-profit cultural groups including the Ontario Cross-Cultural Music Society and the Canada-Hong Kong Library. He was presented with the Chinese Canadian Legend Award in 2009, the Arbor Award in 2010, the Canadian Senate 150 medal and the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Award in recent years.

Slideshow of Photographic Images by Chinese Canadian Photographic Society of Toronto with music by Professor Chan Ka Nin and Alice Ping Yee Ho


Photo by Tam Kam Chiu, GMPSA

About the Chinese Canadian Photographic Society of Toronto:
The Chinese Canadian Photographic Society of Toronto (CCPST 加中攝影學會) was founded in Canada’s largest city in 1976 as a non-profit organization.

Over the last 46 cherished years, it has made itself one of the best and contributive photographic organizations in Canada. Among its 150 members, six are Grandmasters (GMPSA) of the Photographic Society of America, the highest honour awarded by the world-wide organization, which has 5,000 members and 460 camera clubs across the United States. In Canada, there are only nine GMPSA recipients. Also, over 30 CCPST members are “Fellows” of different photographic organizations worldwide.

About Professor Chan Ka Nin:

Photo by Bo Huang

Twice winner of Juno Awards for Best Classical Composition, composer Chan Ka Nin’s works have been performed by ensembles and artists such as the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, National Arts Orchestra, CBC Vancouver Orchestra, Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Esprit Orchestra, Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra London Canada, Symphony Nova Scotia, Amici, Miro Quartet, Purcell Quartet, Rivka Golani and Lawrence Cherney. His numerous international awards include Béla Bartók International Composers’ Competition, Barlow International Competitions, International Horn Society Composition Contest, Jean Chalmers Award, PROCAN Young Composers’ Competition and Amherst Saxophone Quartet Composition Competition.

Chan was born in Hong Kong and moved with his family to Vancouver in 1965. At the University of British Columbia, he studied composition with Jean Coulthard while pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering. After graduation he decided to continue studying composition with Bernhard Heiden at Indiana University where he eventually obtained his Master’s and Doctoral degrees in music. Since 1982, he has been teaching theory and composition at the University of Toronto.

In 2001, his opera Iron Road, written with librettist Mark Brownell, won the Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding New Musical. In 2002, his chamber work Par- çi, par-la, which was recorded by Ensemble Contemporain du Montréal, has won the Juno Award for Best classical composition. In 2017, Sinfonia Toronto’s commission work My Most Beautiful, Wonderful, Terrific, Amazing, Fantastic, Magnificent Homeland was recorded by the Toronto Symphony on their CD Canada Mosaic SESQUIES. In 2018, the Dragon’s Tale was awarded the Kathleen McMorrow Award, which recognizes the presentation of contemporary classical music by Ontario composers. His new work, Pikä Talvi, (long winter) was premiered by percussionist Antti Ohenoja and a string quartet in Helsinki in January 2022. His Harp Concerto will be premiered by Sinfonia Toronto with harpist Teresa Suen-Campbell in November 2022. His “Welcoming Spring” was premiered by Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra under Naomi Woo in January 2023. This work will be recorded by the same artists next year. Currently he is working with librettist Mark Brownell on his second full length opera Dragon’s Tale which will be premiered in June 2023 in Toronto.

About Alice Ping Yee Ho:

Photo by Bo Huang

One of the most acclaimed composers writing in Canada today, Hong Kong-born Alice Ping Yee Ho has written in many musical genres and received numerous national and international awards, including the 2022 Symphony Nova Scotia’s Maria Anna Mozart Award, 2022 Barlow Endowment General Commission, 2019 Johanna Metcalf Performing Arts Prize, 2016 Louis Applebaum Composers Award, K.M. Hunter Artist Award, 2014 Prince Edward Island Symphony Composers Competition, and 2013 Dora Mavor Moore Award for her opera “Lesson of Da Ji “.

Critics have called her music dramatic and graceful, while praising its “organic flow of imagination,” “distinctly individual” style”, “colourful orchestration”, and “emotive qualities”.

Her works have been performed by the Toronto, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Victoria, and Hamilton Symphonies; the Finnish Lapland Chamber Orchestra, China National Symphony, Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra, Florida Orchestra, Polish Radio Choir, Estonia’s Ellerhein Girls Choir, Luxembourg Sinfonietta, and Amsterdam’s Nieuw Ensemble.

A twice JUNO Award Nominee, she has an impressive discography released on the Centrediscs, Naxos, ATMA, PARMA, Marquis Classics, Blue Griffin, Electra, Leaf Music, and Phoenix labels. Her recent releases including “A Woman Voices” (Leaf Music) featuring her music for female voice(s) and piano, “Blaze”(Centrediscs), a solo piano album featuring acclaimed Canadian pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico, and the full length recording of her new opera CHINATOWN commissioned by City Opera Vancouver with librettist Madeleine Thien, will be released in September, 2023.

Alice Ho’s website:

Followed by Dim Sum Lunch Reception, sponsored by Mr. Justin Poy, Honourary Patron, Asian Heritage Month-CFACI

Co-Organizers: Asian Heritage Month—Canadian Foundation for Asian Culture (Central Ontario) Inc.; Toronto Public Library; Asian Institute at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, University of Toronto; Richard Charles Lee Canada Hong Kong Library, University of Toronto; Chinese Canadian Photography Society of Toronto; WE Artists’ Group; Social Services Network; Cambridge Food and Wine Society

Asian Heritage Month Festival is partially funded by the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. Asian Canadian Artists in Digital Age is funded by Canada Council for the Arts Digital Strategy Fund.

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