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Photos: BC Dumpling Festival brings thousands to Town Centre Park in Coquitlam

Saturday's BC Dumpling Festival at Coquitlam's Town Centre Park was the first of its kind in British Columbia

Gina Chong turned the proverbial sow’s ear into a silk purse.

After a racist encounter at Coquitlam’s Town Centre Park last spring, she decided to build a bridge to help educate people about anti-racism.

Saturday, thousands turned out at that very same park, not far from the location where a passerby told Chong, who is Canadian-born and of Korean descent, to “Go back to China.” But instead of displaying placards, they were able to enjoy dumplings from diverse cultures, listen to a variety of music.

The first  BC Dumpling Festival was as much about reclaiming the park from that racist encounter as it was enjoying the tasty treats, celebrate the arts and gather again as a community after two summers of social distancing because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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