A raptor festival at the Allan Brooks Nature Centre will be part of Canada 150 celebrations in Vernon.

A raptor festival at the Allan Brooks Nature Centre will be part of Canada 150 celebrations in Vernon.

Diversity celebrated during Canada’s birthday festivities

As part of the nation's 150th birthday, North Okanagan RespectFest will be held from Sept. 18 to 24.

Canada’s cultural mosaic will be celebrated throughout Vernon.

As part of the nation’s 150th birthday, North Okanagan RespectFest will be held from Sept. 18 to 24.

“It will be a spectacular festival,” said Annette Sharkey, with the Social Planning Council, one of the organizing groups.

A focus will pre-Confederation First Nations history and acknowledging the national Truth and Reconciliation process.

“It’s important that we understand our history and heal together as a nation,” said Sharkey, adding that another goal is to promote diversity and multiculturalism.

“Immigrants bring skills, investment and cultural diversity to our community.”

RespectFest will include indigenous activities and a raptor festival at the Allan Brooks Nature Centre while there will be art and history walks downtown.

There will also be a one-day multicultural festival.

“It will include as many of the cultural groups as we can,” said Lara Konkin, with the Downtown Vernon Association.

School teams will participate in developing public art.

A $202,000 federal grant has been received for RespectFest, which could attract upwards of 10,000 people.

“It’s a great opportunity to establish some new legacies for our region,” said Aaron Deans, with the Allan Brooks Nature Centre.

“It’s about getting everyone out and feeling a sense of pride of where we’ve been and where we’re going.”