Canada celebrates various diversity and inclusion events in June

Julia Hornstein
Published: June 6, 2023

June in Canada is full of national and heritage celebrations. Canada recognizes the importance of these occasions for commemorating cultural diversity, fostering unity and contributing to the rich cultural tapestry of the country.

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June is the month to celebrate:

  • National Indigenous History Month
  • Italian Heritage Month
  • Filipino Heritage Month
  • Portuguese Heritage Month
  • Launch of Pride season

In addition, certain days in June are celebrated in recognition of:

  • National Indigenous Peoples Day (June 21st)
  • Saint-Jean Baptiste Day (June 24th)

Canada values recognizing the diverse heritage that has made the country what it is today. None of these days are recognized as federal statutory holidays, but they are still key to creating conversations that help create understanding and inclusivity.

National Indigenous History Month & National Indigenous Peoples Day

National Indigenous History Month recognizes the history of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples in Canada. It provides Canadians the opportunity to celebrate Indigenous peoples and to learn about their unique cultures, traditions, and experiences. Further, it is a time to honour the stories, achievements and resilience of Indigenous peoples who have always lived on Canadian land and who’s presence continues to impact the country.

Canada is remembering the children who were taken from their families and put into residential schools, especially after the remains of 215 indigenous children were found in unmarked graves in Kamloops, BC.

Reconciliation is a term used in Canada to describe the goal and process of healing the wounds of the past and making reparations for these wounds. In Canada, the process is only starting and will continue for a long time.

This year, each week is dedicated to a different theme to highlight specific aspects of Indigenous history, cultures, and perspectives:

  • June 1 to 6: Women, girls and 2SLGBTQI+ people
  • June 5 to 11: Environment, traditional knowledge and territory
  • June 10 to 18: Children and youth
  • June 19 to 25: Languages, cultures and arts
  • June 26 to 30: Reconciliation

The government of Canada website provides ways in which you can get involved and show your support. You can find this information here.

June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day. Much like Indigenous History Month, it is a time to recognize and celebrate the cultures and spiritual beliefs of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people. June 21 was chosen because it is the summer solstice. For generations, Indigenous peoples have celebrated their heritage around this time because of its significance as the longest day of the year.

Italian Heritage Month

Canada has more than 1.5 million people of Italian heritage, home to one of the largest Italian diasporas in the world. June celebrates the Italian community’s contribution to building a strong, vibrant, and inclusive country.

In 2010, Ontario passed the Italian Heritage Month Act, recognizing the important contribution thatItalian immigrants have made to build Ontario communities and the economic, political, social, and cultural achievements of Italian Canadians throughout the province.

Big cities in Canada like Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver have ‘Little Italy’ neighbourhoods, which are sections of the city that are packed with Italian Canadian businesses and restaurants.

Filipino Heritage Month

Filipino Heritage Month celebrates Filipino culture, traditions and languages and the many contributions that the community has made to the country.

The Filipino community is one of the largest and fastest growing diasporas in Canada, and has had positive impacts in healthcare, politics, business, sports, and the arts. For example, a very high percentage of Filipino Canadians work in the healthcare industry and the social assistance industry (20.6%), compared with other visible minorities.

In the 2021 census, there were 957,355 Filipinos Canadians, making up about 2.58% of the total population of Canada.

Portuguese Heritage Month

Portuguese Heritage Month celebrates Canada’s half a million Luso-Canadians. It is a time to celebrate the Portuguese Canadian community’s vibrant culture. Portugal Day, on June 10th, marks the death of Luís de Camões, a soldier who was considered to be the greatest poet and writer in Portugal and in the Portuguese Language.

The Portuguese Canadian community has contributed towards the growth and development of Canada since the year 1500 and continue to make significant contributions to Canadian society through rich history, language, and culture.

Pride season

Across Canada, Pride events take place in Canadian cities to recognize sexual and gender diversity and equality in Canada. It is a time to acknowledge the 2SLGBTQI+ community and celebrate their resilience, talent, and contributions to Canada.

Historically, Pride gatherings emerged from protests for 2SLGBTQI+rights in Canada. Now, Pride events are held in several cities including Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Saskatoon, Vancouver and Winnipeg. Today, Toronto Pride Weekend in June (June 23rd to 25th) is one of the largest Pride events in North America. The Pride Parade is being held on June 25th this year.

Saint-Jean Baptiste Day

Saint Jean Baptiste Day is a patriotic celebration that occurs on June 24th. The day is celebrated in the province of Quebec and by French Canadians across Canada. In Quebec, it has been a statutory holiday since 1925, with publicly funded events organized province wide by the Comité organisateur de la fête nationale du Québec.

The holiday dates back to the feast day of Saint Jean Baptiste, which was a popular event in the Old Regime in France. The tradition was brought to Canada with the first French colonists in the 1600s.

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