Wednesday, 16 March 2011

South Asian Arts & Cultural Association of Alberta

Join in at Golden Years Society for the Desi Night on 26th March Saturday at 6:30 pm for the first of a series of events that will add colour to the night lights of our very own city of Fort McMurray. Tickets are available at Import Connection. 

Below is a message from Mary Thomas:

Among its 100,000 residents Fort McMurray boasts of multicultural communities which have individual associations to celebrate their unique cultures, music and art. Although these diverse cultures have representation unfortunately the interaction between these communities has been minimal. Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Nepalis, Sri Lankans and other South East Asians have their own circles which are more or less sacrosanct.

That was until one day when some visionaries landed on the scene and saw what others had not seen. One example of such an individuals is Zafar Iqbal. Zafar came on a business visit to Fort McMurray from Mississauga, and decided he had to do something about the disconnect between the cultural groups. Immigrating to Canada from Pakistan 30 years ago Zafar who brought up his three children in Mississauga. He is happy for the opportunities to interact with some of the city’s many cultural and multicultural associations . However when some of these interactions proved futile, he took it on himself to stage a cultural programme to bridge the gaps he perceived to exist. The South Asian Arts and Cultural Association of Alberta has just been instituted in Fort McMurray under the leadership of Zafar Iqbal. He called on a few like minded people to collaborate with him and after fixing a good venue, conducted innumerable meetings and radio interviews, he invited many leading figures to watch and enjoy the South East Asian food, music and dance.

The South Asian Canadian Music Fest was a first time summer event organised at Mac Island last year. It was then that the idea of a non profit cultural body, SAACAA was brought up. It has just been registered and is to be officially inaugurated on 26th March. It is expected to be the first in a series of Desi Nights planned to take place once a quarter or once a month with Indian food and live music.

It takes tremendous foresight and perseverance to put up such an event. Every aspect of the programme was carefully planned and coordinated to reach a grand finale. The event was a first in Fort McMurray and drew crowds and visitors who enjoyed till the wee hours of the morning. This brought some exposure to the vibrant South Asian culture and people suddenly began to take notice. Those who enjoyed the food inquired why we don't have an Indian restaurant. To cater to their tastes is Curry Pot opening up at Eagle Ridge shortly.

Breaking walls and making bridges, people are sure to come together and interact more closely across the different groupings. Like blood running through the body energising every cell so does the excitement that runs through the community in planning, anticipating and participating in the next event, the institution of the South Asian Art and Cultural Association of Alberta.

South Asian Art and Culture Association of Alberta is inaugurating its operations and opening memberships to the South Asian community and well-wishers. All who love the South Asian culture, music and cuisine, this is where you can splurge on all of those exotic things you wondered where you could find in the northern tip of Alberta.


  1. I am a Canadian Regulated Immigration Consultant and Commissioner of Oaths located right here in Fort McMyrray.

    I would like to reach out to our South Asian community in Providing my services regarding any immigration related issues.

    Members of the community can reach me Ronnie at 416-605-7923 or write to