The Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria was founded in 1971, when several ethnic groups came together to share their cultural heritage with the community at large by creating the first Folkfest, a long-running multicultural festival that was an annual Victoria highlight until 2006.
Approached by Immigration Canada to aid refugees in 1978, ICA adopted a mandate to promote cultural understanding and alleviate racism. A broad range of services to assist immigrants settling in Victoria was developed and grew into the Settlement Services department. ICA has assisted more than 20,000 immigrants since those early days and is widely recognized as an advocate for the human rights of people from all ethnocultural backgrounds. Luminara, Folkfest, and other Inter-Cultural Arts events were local celebrations that encouraged community-focused artistic innovation and collaboration among diverse cultures, and were ICA’s most visible means of promoting cultural awareness.