WINNIPEG — Arturo Orellana never thought he would leave Spain’s warm and beautiful weather for cold Canada. Twelve years ago, he was about to become a lawyer at a firm in Madrid, when he received a call from his uncle in Winnipeg.
“He told me, Arturo before you start working there, you should come to Winnipeg to improve your English to connect with multiculturalism,” Orellana said.
The Canadian experience changed his life. Orellana met the woman who would become his wife in Winnipeg and realized he did not want to leave the multiculturalism in the prairies.
“I had the opportunity to connect with people from 35 different countries, I got to know their culture, I got to know about respect.”
“After that experience I went back to Madrid and I said, I don’t want to be a lawyer anymore, I want to dedicate my life to connecting with multiculturalism,” he said.
The arts and culture scene in Winnipeg impressed Orellana, who was used to watching some of the best artistic talent in world, back in Madrid.
“Whatever we have in Winnipeg is amazing… the sense of community is unbelievable and like I said we probably have some of the top artists in Canada… it’s probably because of the weather, it is really cold in the winter, so these artists have an opportunity to practice.”
“Everyone has a talent and it seems like this is the way that we should showcase Winnipeg externally, that we are a creative cluster,” he said.
Orellana comes from Spanish culture where people finish working and go out for a walk, or drink to socialize after. Despite the colder weather in Winnipeg, he wanted to create something similar in his new home country.
“What we want to propose with Culture Card is to be active to do more things outside,” he said. “To have the opportunity to go to two to three really cool events every week, to have the opportunity to love your city and explore your city like a tourist.”
Orellana is launching a free Culture Card app on March 24 that will help people of all ages get out and go to events more often to make the most of their city, no matter what time of year it is.
He is partnering with organizations such as the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights to showcase different talent at events with art installations, dancing, singing and local cuisine.
“Coming to Winnipeg changed my life,” he said. “I came from a really cool city like Madrid, super cultural, super active… one of the key things is to be informed and I think that’s one of the things that we’re missing here.”