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Niagara Folk Arts and Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games collaborate to upcycle materials in a community effort

When Mike Thomson from Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games reached out to the Niagara Folk Arts Multicultural Centre with extra banner material from the Red Deer 2019 Canada Winter Games through local company Pippa and Peach, creative ideas started to form.

The Niagara Folk Arts Multicultural Centre had been working with Pippa and Peach Boutique as part of a program called Sewing our Future Together which connected newcomer sewers with local companies in Niagara. The 2019 Canada Games had left over material they were looking to repurpose.

When Thomson invited Kim O'Rourke, Job Developer at the Niagara Folk Arts Multicultural Centre to check out the storage banners from the previous games, she immediately thought of the newcomer 50+ group at the Niagara Folk Arts and local organization Links for Greener Learning .

The two groups were contacted and asked what their sewers could do with the banner material. They came back with an array of different styled bags and other products. They were also able to incorporate the screening on the banner to make great patterns on the bags and products. This is part of the mission of Links for Greener Learning where they try to reduce carbon footprint and in this case, avoided the redirection of the banners to a landfill site.

The newcomer 50+ group participants are individuals from all over the world who have a feel for creativity and the desire to give back to their community.

Two women from Colombia and Venezuela met each other for the first time at the Friendly Knitting Circle group 3 years ago. They became friends and one of them taught the other how to sew. They decided to get together to make the tote bags. This is a story of women who were new in Canada, trying to meet others to break their social isolation, learning a new skill and supporting each other. In total 40 bags have been finished already.

Now that the up-cycled banner bags have been created, the Niagara Folk Arts Festival is featuring them at their 2021 events, using them to bundle attendee purchased items.

“Being the final step of having the privilege to offer these Banner Bags for our attendees, is a great satisfaction of a long path to get this project to happen. The synergy created by the alliance of the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games organizing body, the Niagara Folk Arts Multicultural 50+ Sewing Group volunteers, Links for Greener Learning and the Niagara Folk Arts Festival, literally demonstrates that good things happen when good ideas and people, come together.” - Pam Seabrook, Niagara Folk Arts Festival Manager

*pictures taken pre-covid*

Our Mission

We celebrate and promote cultural, social and economic inclusion and well-being of all immigrants and newcomers.

Our Vision

We are a gateway to equitable, respectful and welcoming communities for immigrants and newcomers in Niagara.

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