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Filmed conversations with newcomers highlight cultural diversity in the Valley

Series shares local settlement stories through #TheresMoreToMe
A young new Canadian holds a flag as she takes part in a citizenship ceremony on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, April 17, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

A new video series that explores how newcomers to the Valley and North Island are maintaining connections to their culture has been released.

A three-part video series entitled #TheresMoreToMe was created through a partnership between the Immigrant Welcome Centre’s Welcoming Communities Coalition (WCC) and CV/Arts. The project was made possible with funding from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), the BC Arts Council, and the Province of B.C.

Three newcomers to the Comox Valley – Selen, Ajinkya, and Chanya – agreed to share their settlement stories and how they maintain a connection to their culture living in the North Island. Now Canadian citizens or in the process of becoming citizens, they looked back on some of the challenges they experienced settling in Canada and what helped make the Valley feel like home.

“It’s just a matter of finding where you feel good. And I feel good here so – yeah, as soon as you find that I think you just start putting your roots down,” said Selen.

“These stories help highlight that the Valley is more culturally diverse than one might think,” Immigrant Welcome Centre executive director Jim Brennan said. “We also hope that anyone who has more recently immigrated to our community will see these stories and know that they are not alone in their experiences settling in a new country.”

Immigration is important to Vancouver Island’s economy and enriches and expands the Island’s community culture. In 2016, according to Statistics Canada, nearly 13 per cent of the Comox Valley population identified as immigrants.

The videos are available to view on the Immigrant Welcome Centre and CV/Arts YouTube channels.

The WCC and CV/Arts encourage everyone to watch and share these stories, and to share their own immigration experiences to the North Island via email: with the subject line #TheresMoreToMe.

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