The Canberra Multicultural Community Forum (CMCF) is leading the move to ‘Paint Canberra Orange’ for Harmony Day in the National Capital on Saturday 29 March.

CMCF, which was incorporated on Harmony Day, 2006, has organised a full program of events, presenting an innovative plan to promote friendship and understanding between the city’s various ethnic communities, and between those communities and the Canberra public at large.

Celebrations on Saturday will centre on a series of free bus tours involving two buses departing from the front of Civic Square at 10am, noon and 2pm. Depending on the route they choose, passengers will be taken to see places of significance to different ethnic communities including the Canberra Islamic Centre in Monash, the Hindu Temple in Florey and the Vietnamese Buddhist Temple in Lyneham.

CMCF Chair Sam Wong said some people may be surprised to see the Returned and Services League in Constitution Avenue on one of the routes. “However the RSL was a pioneer in providing welfare services to sick, wounded and needy soldiers and their dependents regardless of ethnic background. It holds an honoured place in the multicultural community,” he said.

The trips present a unique opportunity for people of different ethnic backgrounds and religions to get to know each other. “At each stop people will be welcomed and invited to look round,” he said. “We especially hope that members of the general public will also come along to experience the city’s rich multicultural heritage at first hand.”

For those waiting for buses or who have completed their trip are invited to the Theo Notaras Multicultural Centre will be the venue for further celebrations including food stalls and entertainment, which will run from 10am to 4pm.

Mr Wong said orange is the chosen colour for Harmony Day. “Eastern philosophy associates it with creativity, birth, joy, wisdom, social gathering and spiritual enlightenment – in short everything we hope Harmony Day will promote.”

The event is sponsored through the Commonwealth Department of Immigration and Citizenship’s Living in Harmony program. Other supporters include the ACT Department of Disability Housing and Community Services, ACTION Buses and the Hellenic Club of Canberra.

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