Thank you!!

Due to the COVID19 health crisis, the 44th annual Powell Street Festival pivoted from it’s traditional in-person celebration to an online Telethon. It was a great success raising $64,389 (a ~322% increase over the initial goal of $20,000). The donations will fund our new PowellStFest Community Kitchen and help to scale the suite of social justice programming under our Community Cares Program for our Downtown Eastside neighbours.

As a part of the Telethon engagement, we had a number of initiatives including:

  • Hosting a Gift Giving Ceremony where we delivered 1750 of care packages to residents in the Downtown Eastside;
  • Community sourcing a cultural dance mash-up; the Paneru MashUp which yielded 30 video submissions and 14 participants who joined us to socially distance dance;
  • Featuring community messaging from 24 supporters;
  • 34 Performers/Entertainers throughout the Telethon equating to 88 minutes of programming.

We are so grateful for our 649 viewers who joined us from across Canada, US, Japan, and beyond. Collectively, the Telethon was streamed for 73.7K minutes.

“We are overjoyed with the outpouring of support we received during the Telethon. We look forward to redoubling our efforts to foster and strengthen the resilience, vitality and health of the neighborhood,” says Edward Takayanagi, President of Powell Street Festival Society (PSFS).

Reflecting upon the Telethon format, Takayanagi says, “It was important that we broadcast from the neighborhood as the Telethon was a celebration of Japanese Canadian cultural identity and our engagement and connection to this historic place.”

“As the health of the Downtown Eastside (DTES) is directly linked to the health of the Festival, we are deeply committed to the wellbeing of the neighborhood and its current residents.” He continues, “During the Telethon weekend we were able to connect with our friends from the neighborhood, community partners and residents, and affirm our reciprocal relationship.”

Employment for DTES residents and the distribution of 1500 care packages were integrated into the Telethon production. Much of these efforts were funded by a Vancouver Foundation’s Covid Response Fund.

PSFS plans to launch the PowellStFest Community Kitchen, in partnership with the DTES Community Kitchen Network, in the fall. The project will enable PSFS to explore ways to leverage its cultural and equipment assets to advance equity and build capacity in the neighbourhood. For more information about the PowellStFest Community Kitchen please visit 

Watch the full Telethon here: