"The Thunder Bay Multicultural Association" presented by Cathy Woodbeck

Event Date: 
Tuesday, November 24, 2020 - 7:30pm to 9:30pm EST
Event Location: 
ONLINE with The Thunder Bay Historical Museum
Event Fee: 
Free Attendance ONLINE only please connect using museum event web link
Event Contact Name: 
Scott Bradley
Event Contact Phone: 
(807) 623-0801
Event Contact E-mail: 

Due to COVID-19 concerns the lecture will be delivered virtually.

The presentation will focus on the history of the Thunder Bay Multicultural Association from its formation in 1972 under the name The Thunder Bay Council of Ethnic Organizations to the present immigrant service agency located at 17 Court St. N. in the old Court Street fire hall.

The agency has a grassroots history in the community and has grown and evolved over time.  Folklore Festival has been a part of the agencies’ activities since day one and began with the celebration of multiculturalism in the early 1970’s.  With the Trudeau multiculturalism policy direction of October, 1971 and the increasing dialogue on culture and celebration, the organization began as a collective to foster multiculturalism and diversity.

The history of immigration to Thunder Bay, a history of the organization and building, discussion of diversity and welcoming and a look at emerging groups and cultural/linguistic communities in the city will be touched on.  How has Canada moved from an early approach of a “food, folks and fun” celebration of multiculturalism to the later focus on equal opportunity and integration.

Cathy Woodbeck is the Executive Director of the Thunder Bay Multicultural Association, having led the organization for the past 25 years.  She is a former Vice-President of the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants and member of the National Settlement Council.  A graduate of Lakehead University (MA 1993), and lifelong resident of the region she has been active in her community including serving on municipal council for Conmee Township.  With her extensive experience in the Immigrant Settlement and Language Sector, she has represented the North in various working groups and provincial and national committees and councils.  She participated in the development of the anti-racism project “Developing Diversity in Policing” with the Thunder Bay Police Service and has been an active member of diversity and anti-racism community initiatives.  Cathy provides mentorship and training to agencies and organizations on issues of Immigration, Building Welcoming Communities and Working Effectively with Interpreters.  She often represents the North at Federal and Provincial discussions on settlement of newcomers across the North, language acquisition, small center strategies for building welcoming communities and issues of institutional change with respect to diversity.


This presentation is part of the 2020-21 Thunder Bay Historical Museum Society's Lecture Series sponsored by the Department of History. Since 1908, the Thunder Bay Historical Museum Society has been regularly holding talks on a wide range of topics on the fourth Tuesday of each month at the Thunder Bay Historical Museum (425 Donald Street East) from September to April. All presentations are free and open to the public.