About Us


In December 2001, the Senate of Canada passed a motion to officially designate May as Asian Heritage Month in recognition of the important contributions of Asian Canadians to the settlement, growth and social and cultural development of Canada and in recognition of Canada’s diversity.

Calgary’s Asian Heritage Month joins cities such as Fredericton, Montréal, Toronto, Winnipeg and Vancouver in presenting a month long event to celebrate Canada’s Pan-Asian heritage. The Asian Heritage Foundation (AHF) is a not-for-profit organization that promotes the appreciation of Asian-Canadian participation in and contribution to Canadian society. AHF includes active involvement from over 25 Asian-Canadian community groups in southern Alberta and over 200 volunteers in the development and delivery of its programs.

Being the first collaboration of its kind in Canada, AHF encourages, supports and develops community by engaging communities in sharing information, generating resources and coordinating initiatives.

Key objectives of AHF are:

  • Create opportunities for all Albertans to celebrate Asian heritage Month & highlight the Asian-Canadian experience.
  • Be a catalyst for building cross-cultural relationships that recognize cultural diversity as a profound strength of Alberta society.
  • Work to create a society in Southern AB that is inclusive and reflective of all cultures.

Our purpose is to help redefine and reclaim what is mainstream through our key themes of instilling pride and purpose, continuing the memory and the legacy, and changing the mainstream narrative. We do this through our strategic direction:

  • By mobilizing leaders, communities and financial resources.
  • By focusing engagement with the youth.
  • By engaging systems to create change.
  • By researching, communicating, informing.
  • By supporting the mainstreaming of Asian-Canadian communities.

During the 1970s, prominent Asian Americans in the United States introduced a bill to designate a week in May as Asian-Pacific Heritage Week. In 1990, US Congress passed a bill, officially designating the month of May as Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month.

Following the lead of our neighbours to the south, Chinese-Canadian Teresa Woo-Paw organized an Asian Heritage Month event in Calgary in 2001 to celebrate the contributions of Chinese Canadians. She invited prominent members of the Canadian and Calgary Chinese communities to attend and speak at the event. This included Senator Vivienne Poy, the first Canadian Senator of Asian ancestry. Senator Poy was impressed with the event, and took the idea back with her to Ottawa.

In 2002, the Government of Canada signed an official declaration designating May as Asian Heritage Month, to acknowledge the important roles Asian Canadians have played in shaping Canada’s history and society, while continuing to shape its future. Following the declaration, Teresa and a number of other prominent Asian-Calgarians formed the Asian Heritage Foundation (Southern Alberta), a non-profit pan-Asian organization dedicated to celebrate the contributions of Asian Canadians within the cultural, economic, political, and social spheres of life within their communities,in Alberta and within Canada. Since then, the Asian Heritage Foundation (AHF) has played a crucial role in instilling pride and purpose into our communities, continuing the memory and legacy of our contributions, and redefining the mainstream narrative through engaging systems to create change.

As the largest pan-Asian organization in Alberta, the Asian Heritage Foundation supports and develops community through two key objectives:

  1. Fostering awareness of the participation and contributions of Asian Canadians
  2. Raising awareness and addressing issues that impact Asian Canadians through advocacy, mainstreaming initiatives, policy, and education

Throughout the month of May, Calgarians join with cities across the country – Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, Winnipeg, and more – to reflect on and celebrate the diversity and prosperity of our city and our country. AHF will continue to promote unity and cooperation among Asian Canadian communities, as well as between the broader citizenry of Calgary, to develop relationships that will lead and drive future initiatives.

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