Portage Collegiate high school students have been involved in the creation of videos focused on celebrating immigration by interviewing Portage la Prairie restaurant owners who have made our city their home.
Graphic communications and video production teacher Shane Sobkowich explains Portage Community Revitalization Corporation's Mitch Tilk, who is Local Immigration and Partnership coordinator, approached him about the plan.
"It's just sort of their story to how they came to Portage la Prairie, how they went about starting their business and their successes, and how they like living in Portage la Prairie," says Sobkowich.
He explains they looked at various restaurants throughout town for a point at which they would begin.
"The first episode was to feature the restaurant Mole Guacamole," continues Sobkowich. "We went about interviewing the owners and staff, and we had a crew of a few students that volunteered for this to be filmed. We ended up getting some great footage and some great interviews with the people at Mole Guacamole. That episode was completed in 2019. Obviously with COVID, the series was put on hold for a couple years because of restrictions and policies. This year, we were in talks about getting it going again and working on the next episode. Mitch had determined that Heatz Fusion Restaurant in Portage la Prairie would be the next featured restaurant."
Sobkowich adds they're not sure how many future videos in this series will be made.
"PCRC initiated this project and involved us in it and it's something that we're excited to keep working with," adds Sobkowich. "It seems like one a year is kind of the realistic goal. He's talked about other restaurants in town, but I'm not sure. We're looking forward to doing another."
He says he felt that the restaurant owners seem very happy with living in Portage la Prairie, and feel very welcomed and supported by the Community.
"It's definitely something to celebrate, and I think it shows in the restaurant and their business model that they seem to be focused on the people celebrating, creating recipes and food for the people of Portage," adds Sobkowich. "It's not really about the business, but about the people. These restaurants are run by really good people who are interested in integrating into our community."
The series is funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.