The best medicine for a homesick heart is a celebration of home. For Canadians abroad, that day is Canada Day. Technically Canada Day is July 1st, but for the sake of the weekend, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Korea (a.k.a. CanCham Korea) hosted this year’s Canada Day event on Saturday, June 27th and what an event it was!
CanCham is a non-profit organization founded in 1995, with intentions to promote the Canadian community in Korea through networking and social events. They are also big advocates for the Canadian business community abroad so if you’re a Canadian businessperson thinking of branching out in South Korea, get in touch with these guys. Anyway, back to the party.
Tickets were 35,000 won (approx. $38 CAD) and a ticket got you into the venue, a commemorative Canada Day t-shirt, a delicious home-cooked burger and more.
The ticket fee also included two pints of beer, courtesy of Craftworks Brewing Co. and Maloney’s Brewing Co., your choice of several maple flavoured snacks and other great treats from numerous sponsors.
There was a live band called Radmobile; a duo originally from Halifax but currently living in Busan, South Korea. They played for two hours in the heat, paying homage to a multitude of Canadian rock legends including Neil Young and the Tragically Hip. Their tunes definitely gave the event that added home-grown touch of Canadiana.
Lululemon was there doing a yoga session (in the heat! No thanks, I’m good.) and there was also a pretty badass kids play zone with blow-up bouncy castles for the little ones.
The Canadian Embassy also had a “moose naming contest” for their moose mascot dressed in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police uniform. There were lots of Canadian souvenirs for sale as well. Canada fans, caps and frisbees to name a few. Thanks to my recent care package from my friends back in Ontario (thanks Bal, Kim and Sil!) I had a lot of Canadiana on hand already but I ended up buying a hat because it made me happy.
I also met a dashing Korean gentleman who had some pretty sweet bagpipe skills. He told me he lived in Calgary for 10 years so I guess he learned to play while he was there! (I didn’t have time to ask as he was helping to serve lunch.) Himself and his partner did two songs and each time was beautiful.
I thought it was appropriate to share this story of how the CanCham organization brought a piece of home to us expats on Canada’s actual birthday. According to CanCham, over 350 people attended and they hope to see more next year! So if you’re an expat living in Korea (you don’t have to be Canadian to attend) and you reckon you’ll be around this time next year, check them out at www.canchamkorea.org, like them on facebook and you’ll be in the loop for next summer.
To all my friends, family and readers back home, I wish you all a very happy Canada Day. Be careful with those fireworks!