Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Diversity Makes For Fun Travel Surprises in Edmonton

Posted By on August 14, 2012, 8:13 PM

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We were reminded of just how much diversity can add to a destination while in Edmonton, Canada, this week. We attended the Edmonton Heritage Festival, which is somewhat like Salt Lake’s Living Traditions Festival.  --- Any group from any nation that has ended up settling in Edmonton puts together their own pavilion with information about their homeland and has crafts, displays and authentic food from that place.

We expected to find pavilions for the Ukraine and other Eastern European countries, as those are the people who largely came and took Canada’s deal of 160 acres for only a $10 registration fee to clear the land and create farms in Alberta. We expected to find a pavilion for China, since Chinese workers helped build the railway across Canada. We expected to find England, Ireland, New Zealand and Australia given Canada’s relation to Great Britain. We expected to find a few others, since Canada is noted for its welcoming immigration policies.

However, we never could have predicted we’d find 62 pavilions representing 85 different cultures. Who’d have thought they could eat matobo (marinated beef with spices) from Zimbabwe or drink chicha (a cold pineapple drink) from Ecuador whilst on the plains of Northern Alberta?

That diversity is part of what makes Edmonton Canada’s Festival City, hosting dozens of events throughout the year such as the Dragon Boat Festival, Dreamspeakers International Aboriginal Film & Television Festival, or the International Fringe Theatre Festival, the longest running festival of its kind.

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We often travel to destinations looking for certain experiences with certain expectations, but once we get there, it’s often the diversity that ends up giving that destination a sense of place while providing the sorts of surprises that make for memories that last long after getting home.

The Travel Tramps blog at CityWeekly.net and write about travel for City Weekly. You can listen to the Edmonton episode of Kathleen Curry and Geoff Griffin's Travel Brigade Radio Show by clicking here.

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