Ottawa residents are so open to different cultures that it’s no surprise cultural festivals flourish here, said the director of the Canadian Turkish Heritage Foundation.
When it started three years ago, the foundation’s Ottawa Turkish Festival was a one-day affair. In its third year, the festival has grown to three days, and is expected to attract 15,000 people to Confederation Park this weekend, said Kerim Khan.
Not bad, considering that Statistics Canada reported only 2,600 Turkish-Canadians living in Ottawa-Gatineau in 2006, Khan said.
“The Turkish population here is small, but we have great community support,” said Khan. “People in Ottawa want to try new things all the time.”
People come for the food — Turkey is famous for its baklava, donairs and kabobs, Khan said — the arts, cultural displays and the performances. The Whirling Dervishes are back this year.
The festival opens Friday afternoon and runs through Sunday. Admission is free.