Carnegie Jazz Band. Photo credit: David Cooper

The Eighth Annual Downtown Eastside Heart of the City Festival, focusing on our city’s rich and diverse communities, celebrates creative artists and activists who thrive in the heart of Vancouver. 

This year’s festival dates are October 26 through Sunday, November 6, 2011. The festival features twelve days of music, poetry, spoken word, stories, visual arts, cultural celebrations, outdoor festivities, films, dance, processions, forums, workshops, discussions, gallery exhibits, mixed media, hip-hop, art talks, history walks and numerous artist showcases. Over 80 events at over 20 locations throughout the Downtown Eastside are scheduled during festival’s 12-day run.
Downtown Eastside Heart of the City Festival’s aim is to profile and foster the development of community arts in the Downtown Eastside – from community building and celebrating artists and cultures, to giving voice to local concerns. The festival involves a wide range of professional, community, emerging and student artists and lovers of the arts. Over 1,000 artists and 500 volunteers participated in last year’s festival.
To celebrate both Vancouver’s 125th anniversary and to promote the spirit of our home community, this years festival theme is “Telling Our Story, Building Our Community.”

The Downtown Eastside is the heart of the city, the founding neighbourhood where Vancouver began, and home of choice for thousands of its residents.

Deet Street band, Music In The Street The Heart of The City Festival 2010
[Deet Street Band, Heart of the City Festival, 2010. Photo credit: RayVanEng on Flickr]
The festival’s musical highlights will include:
Sweet Soul Sisters of the Downtown Eastside
Carnegie Theatre, 401 Main Street
Wednesday, October 26 at 7:30 pm
Free admission

The Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra Small Ensemble
Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, 578 Carrall Street
Sunday, October 30 at 2:30 pm
By donation to the Garden

Sophisticated Ladies, a Tribute to Women in Jazz with DTES favourites Dalannah Gail Bowen and Thelma Gibson
Radha Yoga, 728 Main Street, 2nd floor
Friday, October 28 at 8 pm.
$10 suggested donation at door

An evening with Beverly Dobrinsky and Zeellia
Ukrainian Hall, 805 E. Pender Street
Thursday, November 3 at 7:30 pm
$10 suggested donation at door

Elvis is in the Building: music and entertainment with Vee Krisp and former Elvis impersonator Morris Bates
Carnegie Theatre, 401 Main Street
Friday, November 4 at 7 pm
Free admission

Accordionist Todd Wong and the Squeezebox Circle present Accordion to Immigrants
Carnegie Theatre, 401 Main Street
Saturday, November 5 at 1:30 pm
Free admission

Trisurgence, a new city wide collaboration led by Brad Muirhead with KOAN, Aboriginal youth drum circle, New World Chinese Orchestra, and DTES involved musicians
Ukrainian Hall, 805 E. Pender Street
Friday, November 4 and Saturday, November 5 at 8 pm
$10 suggested donation at door

History and Social Walks, a popular draw at this festival, will take in a record number of walks this year, as part of the Vancouver 125 celebrations. Here’s a list of the walks:

History on the Verge: Shining Light on Our Old East End Houses
Join Strathcona-based house history researcher and heritage advocate James Johnstone on a tour highlighting Vancouver’s oldest houses and stories of the people who lived in them.
Meet at NW corner of Dunlevy & Railway Streets. Saturday, October 29 at 10 am

Strathcona historical walking tour August 07

DTES Labour and Community History Panels Walking Tour
Join a tour of 12 new plaques commemorating moments in history with members of the activist and labour communities, including Carnegie Community Action Project and the Vancouver District Labour Council.
Meet at front steps of Carnegie Theatre, 401 Main Street. Saturday, October 29 at 11:30 am

An 1886 Walking Tour
Take a walk with John Atkin, author, DTES/Strathcona resident and ‘walking history encyclopedia’ as he travels along the streets and alleys of Vancouver as the city existed 125 years ago.
Meet at Maple Tree Square, Carrall & Water Streets. Sunday, October 30 at 10 am

A Walk in Chinatown
Walk the inner city and learn about the customs, symbolism, and traditions of Chinatown from a cultural perspective with Bob Sung. Having a background in culinary education, Bob says “Food is my medium.”
Meet at Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden courtyard, 568 Carrall Street. Saturday, November 5 at 10 am

Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside Outdoor Murals
There are over 80 murals on the walls of buildings in Vancouver’s East End. Muralist and local legend Richard Tetrault will take us on a walking tour of about 15 of those murals located in the Downtown Eastside.
Meet at front steps of Carnegie Theatre, 401 Main Street. Saturday, November 5 at 11 am

Powell Street Walking Tour
On this historical tour, Raymond Nakamura takes you back in time to the vibrant pre-war community of Japanese Canadians and Japanese immigrants who lived and worked in the area until their forced removal in 1942.     
Meet at SE corner of Powell & Jackson. Sunday, November 6 at 10:30 am

All Walks: Visitors: $10, Locals: pay what you can

Oppenheimer Park - Taken by Keith Martin
[Oppenheimer Park. Photo credit: Keith Martin on Flickr]

Pre-festival highlight
Oppenheimer Art Show and Parade
The first art show helped to bridge the community through the transformations of a pre-Olympic city and redevelopment of Oppenheimer Park. The park today remains a community of people upholding the Park’s vision as a place for art, education, recreation, health and healing. The 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 an early evening parade from Oppenheimer to Gachet, led by Brad Muirhead and the Carnegie Street Band.

Gallery Gachet, 88 E. Cordova Street
Friday October 21 at 7 pm. The parade leaves Oppenheimer Park at 6 pm.
Free admission.

Most events are free or by suggested donation. Visit the website for full details.

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