India’s 72nd Independence Day was celebrated by Indians in Toronto, Canada by organising the India Day Festival and Grand Parade on Sunday.
Several notable dignitaries from all levels of government participated in the India Day programme. Consul General of India in Toronto, Dinesh Bhatia along with his wife, Seema Bhatia, Canada’s Science Minister Hon. Kirsty Duncan, Leader of the Conservative Party and Leader of the Official Opposition, Andrew Scheer were prominent among them.
The event kick started with songs by the renowned Punjabi singer, Geeta Zailder, followed by rendering both the Canadian and the Indian National Anthem.
The Consul General of India in Toronto, Dinesh Bhatia addressed the crowd on the occasion.
“It is your responsibility to pass all the civilizational links, the cultural links, the emotional links with India to the next generation… and here we are celebrating India, India’s civilization, cinema, Bollywood, culture, food and economy, you name it and we have it, India is the most diverse land in this world, but we are one country, one India,” he said, reiterating on the unity in diversity of India.
“We are celebrating India, India’s Independence and Indo-Canada relations, here in a faraway beautiful country called Canada,” he added.
Canada’s Science Minister Hon. Kirsty Duncan greeted the crowd in Hindi and mentioned how elated she was to be part of the India Day celebrations.
“The ties between our two countries are so important and the people who have come to Canada to enrich our society and culture and help write the next chapter of Canada’s history is so worthy of celebration and that’s what today is all about, and the Conservative Party has long recognised that this relationship is important,” said Andrew Scheer, Leader of the Conservative Party and Opposition.
“I want to pay a special not of gratitude for the Indian diaspora here in Canada who have done so much to send help for their fellow men and women,” he added as a special mention was made of the ongoing flood ravaged state of Kerala and how the Indian diaspora is reaching out to the affected people.
Panorama India Chairman Anu Shrivastava announced the commencement of the rest of the programme.
The Grand Parade was marshalled by the Bollwood and Punjabi actor Jimmy Shergill.
It started at Nathan Phillips Square on Queen St. W, and made a complete square going from Queen St. W, west to University Ave., north to Dundas St., east to Yonge St. and south back to Queen St.
More than 50,000 people attended Sunday’s annual India Day Festival and Grand Parade.
20 colourful floats representing the different states of India were put together by 55 organisations.
The festival showcased music and dance performances by 400 local artists, dances by Shiamak Davar’s dance troupe and music by Malkit Singh and his ten piece band.
A kid’s zone, an international bazaar with 100 kiosks exhibiting fashion, jewellery, crafts, and traditional Indian cuisines, with over twenty food stalls – each bringing with them the mouth-watering flavours of India were also part of the India Day celebrations.