Vancouver’s downtown eastside celebrates with heart

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With a focus on the rich and diverse communities of the Downtown Eastside, the seventh annual Downtown Eastside Heart of the City Festival runs from October 27th through November 7th.

Heart of the City FestivalThis year’s festival features twelve days of a wide range of performing and visual arts including music, films, theatre, dance, gallery exhibits, mixed media, art talks, history talks and history walks.

The theme of this year’s festival – Downtown Eastside: Heart and Home – celebrates the Downtown Eastside as the heart of the City of Vancouver and the home of choice for thousands of its residents. The 2010 Festival also offers a special spotlight on Downtown Eastside and First Nation artists, producers, curators and residents and their perspective on ‘heart and home’.

With more than 80 events scheduled across 25 different venues during the Festival, choosing what to see can be a challenge.  Here is our to five Festival picks to help you in your planning.  Visit for a complete listing of all the Festival events.

  1. Festival Opening Ceremonies: join friends from the neighbourhood and special guests from the city and the province for the opening of the 7th Annual Festival. Hear words of insight into the heart and home of the DTES from guest speakers, poets and artists of this community. Carnegie Theatre, 401 Main. Wed, Oct. 27 @ 2pm. Free.
  2. An Evening with The Git Hayetsk Dancers: led by Mike Dangeli and Mique’l Askren, the Git Hayetsk Dancers take pride in the fact that only traditional hand-made regalia, masks, skin and box drums are used to perform their ancient and contemporary songs and dances. They sing the songs of their ancestors and create new songs, dances, drums, rattles, masks and regalia to reflect experiences of First Nations people today. Carnegie Theatre, 401 Main. Wed, Oct. 27 @ 7:30pm. Free.
  3. Barrio Flamenco: celebrate the creativity of artists in the Downtown Eastside with an unforgettable night of live flamenco music and dance featuring some of the most compelling flamenco artists in the city along with a mariachi performance in honour of Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead. Cash bar.  radha yoga & eatery, 728 Main. Tues, Nov. 2 @ 8pm. Suggested donation $0-20.
  4. In Our Backyard is Your Backyard, Opening Reception: the 3rd Annual Oppenheimer Park Art Show features works by new, emerging and established artists that reflect the vibrant and creative community in and around the Park and offers a unique perspective into the heart and home of the DTES. Join artists, community members and neighbours in a late-afternoon parade from Oppenheimer to Gachet, led by Brad Muirhead and the newly formed Carnegie Street Band. Gallery Gachet, 88 E. Cordova. Fri, Nov. 5 @ 6pm. Parade @ 5pm. Free
  5. Celebration of Oppenheimer Park: join the community in a celebration of Chief Henry Robertson’s new carvings to be installed in Oppenheimer Park. Many trees fell during the devastating storm in Stanley Park four years ago and with the help of Constant Arts Society and the DTES Heart of the City Festival one of those large cedars has found a home in the Downtown Eastside. The cedar is being carved in two vertical halves by Chief Robertson, his son, local carvers and community youth. Join us for music, drumming, song, ceremony and celebration as we honour these two new carvings for the Downtown Eastside in the traditional territory of the Coast Salish. Oppenheimer Park, 400 block Powell. Sat, Nov. 6 @ 11am. Free.

Downtown Eastside Heart of the City Festival
27 October – 7 November 2010

Visit for a complete listing of all the Festival events.

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