If you are a regular reader of my messages, you should be familiar with my optimism regarding overcoming COVID-19. I have said many times we are gradually winning the battle and coming through to the other side. However, this time I have more than optimism alone. I have proof. 

Last year we had to move completely to a virtual stage for our annual Mosaic Music Festival of Arts and Culture. It was well attended and enjoyed, but not exactly what we had envisioned when we first started the event. 

However, this fall we were able to return to a live, in-person event. Sure, it was on a smaller scale in order to respect the guidelines and procedures put in place by the Province and public health, but it still happened. It was beautiful to see people come out and have a good time, as we showcased the different cultures that make Halifax unique. This is powerful proof of the fact we have turned an important corner in this fight and I’m grateful to all our partners for their continued support and we look forward to doing it again next year. 

Still not convinced? How about the opening in November of our latest venture, Creative Hub? In our new location, we will open the doors to the latest co-working space in HRM. Creative Hub is not just an office centre, but a truly collaborative space, designed to bring entrepreneurs and communities together under one roof to produce greater economic prosperity for everyone. 

The fact we can move ahead with a concept based on putting people together instead of keeping them apart is the opposite of what we came to think about as normal during the height of the pandemic. However, that doesn’t mean we won’t be following public health guidelines, just that they were all taken into consideration when planning Creative Hub so they’re part of what makes the concept work and not a barrier to coming together. 

We’re excited about the approaching opening and what it means to our community. We look forward to rolling out community-driven programs geared towards supporting local entrepreneurs and businesses, while providing an asset anyone in the community has access to and can use. 

Need more proof? How about the success of the nomination period for our annual signature event, the Most Inspiring Immigrants in Atlantic Canada gala. This is the first year the program has embraced the entirety of Atlantic Canada. Newfoundlanders, despite it being the first time nominations from their province were eligible, have come forward to alert us about the many excellent candidates in their corner of the region deserving of recognition. Our advisory committee will certainly have its work cut out for it when it tries to review the nominations and select the honourees for the gala in January. We look forward to celebrating this significant event with guests from Atlantic Canada in person and online. 

I hope all these examples are enough to show we have indeed turned the corner and are on the road to recovery. We here at My Halifax Experience Magazine continue to stay committed to our core purpose, which is telling the stories of immigrants who are making a positive impact in our region. In this edition we will be highlighting such stories as the election of Ali Duale, the first Muslim MLA in Nova Scotia’s history. There’s also a profile of Ramya Rangelle, who not only found her first Canadian job at Pier 21, but her new career as well. 

This edition also features the first of our international student bursary winner essays. It’s a first-person account of a journey from South Korea to Halifax undertaken by a visually-challenged mother and her daughters. We hope you like it. Other essays from our bursary winners will follow in later issues. 

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