About Us

May is Asian Heritage Month in Canada

The Vancouver Asian Heritage Month Society is a registered secular non-profit organization passionately dedicated to promoting the inclusion of Asian-Canadian communities into Canadian society. VAHMS’ signature project is explorASIAN: a festival of Pan-Asian arts, culture and heritage during Asian Heritage Month.

Many cultures, Many Languages, One Celebration

Since 1996, VAHMS has worked closely with local Asian-Canadian communities and organizations that support our vision of creating a more equitable and inclusive society through art and education. With year-round programming that spans many sectors, VAHMS strives to create a positive impact in the lives of all Canadians.

What We Do

  • Invite the wider community to experience Asian-Canadian arts and culture
  • Create opportunities to learn about Asian-Canadian communities in Canada
  • Provide a platform to address critical issues facing Asian-Canadians
  • Facilitate collaboration across and beyond Asian-Canadian communities
  • Promote access to public arts and cultural institutions for all Canadian communities

Our History

VAHMS was founded in 1996 by Jim Wong-Chu Mishtu Banerjee, Mo-Ling Chui, Grace Eiko Thomson, and Winston Xin, following the beginning of Asian Heritage celebrations in the USA and Toronto, Canada.

In 2001, Senator Vivienne Poy proposed a motion in the Senate to officially recognize Asian Heritage Month in the month of May. Other Canadian cities celebrating Asian Heritage Month include Victoria, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Halifax and Fredericton.

Asian Canadian cultures in Canada include

  • East Asia: China, Japan, Korea, Mongolia, Taiwan
  • South East Asia: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, East Timor, Vietnam
  • South Asia: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka
  • Western Asia: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Cyprus, Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, State of Palestine, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Yemen
  • Central Asia: Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan