TORONTO, July 12 (Xinhua) -- People in Toronto will finally get to see a piece of China without hopping onto a plane as Canada's largest-ever celebration of Chinese arts and culture officially kicked off Friday evening.
The inaugural three-day China Now festival will be bringing roughly 100 multidisciplinary artists, over half of which are traveling from China, straight to Toronto's Harbourfront Center.
Luo Zhaohui, Chinese ambassador to Canada, was one of the many dignitaries who helped kick-off the festivities on Friday. With a wide range of performances like paper cutting, dumpling duels, kite-making and much more happening within the three days, Luo said Torontonians will get to see a very different side of China this weekend.
"Over 70 artists came here at the same time to perform. It's an important window to showcase Chinese culture and will help build the friendship between China and Canada," he said.
But making an event of this scale happen wasn't easy. Luo praised Harbourfront Center's efforts in helping to bring this unique experience to Canadians.
"Canada was very serious and detailed when organizing this event," he said. "They're very interested in Chinese history and also really appreciate it."
Canada's Federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver believed that the event, which highlights China's 5,000 years of history right up to modernity, will give Canadians an insight into its culture and help bring the two countries closer together than ever.
"(It) really brings home the contribution that a million and a half Canadians of Chinese origin are bringing to Canada. To every form of Canadian life, from culture, arts, entertainment, science, technology to economy," he said. "So it's a wonderful celebration of the growing relationship between our two countries and an insight for Canadians who may not have that knowledge of China to find out more about Chinese culture."
The event was also held at the 48th Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington D.C. before heading to Toronto.