Asian Heritage Month 2023

May 1 marks the beginning of Asian Heritage Month, a time to celebrate the many contributions that people of Asian descent have made—and continue to make—to Canadian society. This month recognizes the breadth and depth of Asian identities, whose roots originate in more than 40 countries worldwide.

University of Toronto Chancellor Emerita Dr. Vivienne Poy, the first Canadian Senator of Asian ancestry, initiated the national recognition of Asian Heritage Month. Building on significant community efforts and a groundswell of support, she successfully proposed the motion in the Senate of Canada in 2001. Dr. Poy reflected two decades later, “My motivation was about education, about learning from each other, because once you learn, you respect.”

During Asian Heritage Month and throughout the year, it is vitally important to recognize the wide-ranging contributions of Asian-identifying students, faculty members, librarians, and staff at our institution. These contributions enrich our student communities; our teaching and research activities; our delivery of services; and the many settings in which we learn and work.

It is equally important to acknowledge the challenges that racism and discrimination continue to present to U of T students, staff, faculty, and librarians of Asian descent. Some challenges mirror the recent escalation of anti-Asian racism in our society; others reflect longstanding inequities within the University’s policies, systems, and processes. Launching the Anti-Asian Racism Working Group last fall was an important step in the University’s journey to address these challenges. We look forward to receiving the Working Group’s recommendations. Guidance from this Report will enable us to more effectively support Asian-identifying members of our community.

I invite all members of the University of Toronto community to recognize Asian Heritage Month by engaging with tri-campus programming that offers opportunities to reflect, connect, and deepen a collective understanding of anti-Asian racism. Learning from each other—and through this learning, building mutual respect—will strengthen our community, making each of us a partner in change.

Additional Programming

Asian Heritage Month – UTM Library Display

Date: May 1-31, 2023 | UTM Library Operational Hours
Format: In-person

Location: UTM Library
Audience: Faculty, Staff, Librarians, and Students at the University of Toronto

The UTM Library and Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Office (EDIO) have worked together to bring awareness to Asian Heritage Month through a Library book display. The display will include a variety of books by Asian authors and illustrators, and non-Asian authors who explore Asian culture, people, economies, and ways of knowing. Community members will be able to engage with the display throughout May. The display is located at Level 2 (ground) of the UTM Library, just to the right of the entrance. For more information and to explore a digital book display, visit the UTM Library website.


    Explore digital book display

Disrupting Anti-Asian Racism: Tools for Change

Date: May 1, 2023 | 1:00 – 3:00 pm
Format: Virtual – Zoom Platform. Accessibility information for Zoom.

Facilitator: Maria Lo, Training Coordinator, Hong Fook Mental Health Association
Audience: Faculty, Staff, and Students at the University of Toronto

Learning Objectives:

  • Explore and discuss the historical and current-day realities of anti-Asian racism.
  • Deepen understanding of how anti-Asian racism interacts with other forms of discrimination.
  • Share strategies and resources to identify and address anti-Asian racism in working and learning environments.

Note: Students must use their University of Toronto email address to register for this workshop.


    Further information and registration

Restorative Art Therapy for Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders (AAPI) Community & Their Allies

Date: May 9, 2023 | 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Format: Virtual – Zoom Platform. Accessibility information for Zoom.

Facilitators: Ashley Kwan, BSc, RP [qualifying], and Phuong Nguyen, RP
Audience: Faculty, Staff, and Students at the University of Toronto who identify as members of Asian community and allies.

This is a virtual art therapy workshop with a focus on marginalization, racism, inner strength, restoration, and solidarity for the Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders (AAPI) community and its allies at the University of Toronto. This workshop is a space for checking in with yourself and your community – to support and to feel supported.


    Further information and registration

Book Launch Event – Asian Canadian Voices: Facets of Diversity

Date: May 9, 2023 | 2:00 – 4:00 pm
Format: In-person

Location: Flexible Learning Space, Cheng Yu Tung East Asian Library, 130 St. George Street, 8th Floor

Join the discussion and celebrate our book launch for our recent publication, “Asian Canadian Voices: Facets of Diversity.” This inspiring collection showcases the works of eleven authors who share remarkable stories, reflections, and insights on the Asian Canadian heritage and experience. The event will feature a talk by Dr. Larissa Lai and a panel discussion featuring several of the contributing authors.


    Further information and registration

Our Stories – Asian Heritage Month

Date: May 24, 2023 | 12:00 – 1:30 pm
Format: Virtual – Zoom Platform. Accessibility information for Zoom.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.If you want to test your system before the event, please follow these instructions.

Hosted in collaboration with the UTSC International Student Centre, St. George Centre for International Experience & UTM International Education Centre.

*If you have an accommodation need for this event due to a disability, please email Emzhei Chen ( and we will do our best to make appropriate arrangements.


    Further information and registration

Rejuv Movement Session

Date: May 30, 2023 | 1:00 – 2:00 pm
Format: In-person

Location: Multi-Faith Centre, Main Activity Hall, 569 Spadina Ave., 2nd Floor, Room KP208
Facilitator: Reshmi Chetram, Performing Artist, Dance Educator and Cultural Producer
Audience: Faculty, Staff, and Students at the University of Toronto who identify as members of Asian community.

This 1-hour restorative movement session is done at a slow to medium pace. Blending Indian classical dance gestures, breath and self-reflexology, this class is designed to bring participants to a state of balance, deep relaxation and allow their mind and body to restore. Participants will leave feeling a sense of renewal, release and restoration.


    Further information and registration