Northumberland County — It's Hispanic Heritage Month in Northumberland — the first time in the history of the county that an ethnic group has received such recognition.
County council noted in its proclamation that the Hispanic community “is one of the fastest growing in Ontario,” with more than 400,000 first, second and third generation Canadians of Hispanic origin living in the province.
Northumberland “is home to a flourishing Hispanic population,” supported by the Northumberland Hispanic Cultural Club (NHCC), whose work includes “educating people on the importance of the Hispanic culture and traditions” in the county.
The club kicked off a series of special events it has organized with the official opening of an exhibition of Latin American art and heritage in the Heritage Room at the Colborne Art Gallery on Oct. 4.
"We are here to celebrate a new chapter within the Hispanic community,” said NHCC president Mario Pareja, who thanked county council for its continued support of the club through the years.
The art exhibition features Hispanic-Canadian artists such as painters Cesar Morris (Peru), Carla Gonzales (Venezuela), Montse Alvarado (Mexico), Angel Facundo (Philippines) and Emilio Ojeda (Venezuela).
The heritage exhibition, Nuestra Historia, presents photos and bios of more than 20 individuals that were included in the publication "150 Stories and Images of Arrival in Northumberland."
“It shows us how much different cultural diversity there is here that we should know about and celebrate,” said Barrie Wood, a member of Heritage Cramahe who serves as a liaison with the Northumberland Art Gallery.
People have chosen Northumberland and “found it a terrific place to live. All of them say 'I love it here.'”
The residents are welcoming and “it's a great place to live and raise your family ... or retire,” Wood said.
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The term Hispanic (Spanish: hispano or hispánico, Galician: hispánico, Asturian: hispanu, Basque: hispaniar, Catalan: hispà, hispàno) broadly refers to the people, nations, and cultures that have a historical link to Spain. It commonly applies to countries once colonized by the Spanish Empire in the Americas and Asia, particularly the countries of Latin America and the Philippines. It could be argued that the term should apply to all Spanish-speaking cultures or countries, as the historical roots of the word specifically pertain to the Iberian region. It is difficult to label a nation or culture with one term, such as Hispanic, as the ethnicity, customs, traditions, and art forms (music, literature, dress, culture, cuisine, and others) vary greatly by country and region. The Spanish language and Spanish culture are the main traditions.
Hispanic originally referred to the people of ancient Roman Hispania, which roughly comprised the Iberian Peninsula, including the contemporary states of Spain, Portugal, Andorra, and the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar.