Festival celebrates international students


Last Saturday, the second Toronto International Students Festival was held at David Pecaut Square.

The event, sponsored by CIBC, Rogers Communications and the Province of Ontario, featured live cultural performances, such as Ojibwe pow-wows, Scottish highland dancing and a Bollywood dance.

Representatives from colleges and universities, including Sheridan College, Humber, University of Toronto and Seneca attended the event to offer information about their programs.

“It’s been so amazing to come here, meet all of you and enjoy a day of wonderful festivities,” said Angie Seth, addressing the crowd.

Speaking on behalf of Opportunities Ontario, Deputy Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Chisanga Puta-Chekwe announced a program that would allow international students with job offers to be fast-tracked for permanent resident status within Ontario, and therefore Canada.

“We are fully confident in your abilities to seek out opportunities, build a rewarding career, and a good life in our province, and help make Ontario a better place,” Puta-Chekwe said.

At the event, eight students were presented with Toronto Excellence Awards, given to students who have made significant contributions in areas such as community services, entrepreneurship, and arts and culture.

“We know it can be both exciting yet very overwhelming as you embark on this new phase of your studies,” said Barbara Hastings, development vice-president of CIBC.

One of the award winners, OCAD’s Byron Chan, had a short film called “1997 debut at the TIFF Bell Lightbox earlier this year.

“I was not expecting to get that. It felt great,” said Chan.

“We’re very proud. We were cheering him on and embarrassing him,” said his sister Bonita Chan.