India Day Parade On Dundas Square
Toronto: On Saturday, August 11, people of Indian origin descended on Yonge-Dundas square to celebrate the India Day Parade and Festival commemorating India’s 66th Independence Day. The event was organized by Panorama India, a nonprofit organization uniting cultural organizations in the GTA, to celebrate India’s Unity in Diversity, the official slogan of the Festival.
Many participants and audience members alike came in traditional Indian attire, cheerful and ready to participate in the festivities. The culturally rich event was a blend of colour, music and dance topped with traditional Indian snacks and trinkets.
The morning commenced with the unfurling of the Indian Flag by Indian High Commissioner S. M. Gavai and singing of the Indian and Canadian national anthems.
The day had much to offer with foot tapping music, an array of Indian classical and folk dances such as Bharatnatyam and Ganesh Vandana, a Flag dance, regional folk dances, a medley of Bollywood hits, and a unique Yoga dance which kept the crowd active and engaged. Culinary delights including mouthwatering samosas, pav bhaji, chaat, roasted corn on the cob and freshly squeezed sugar cane juice satisfied the appetites of the energized crowd.
Ajit Khanna, Chair of Panorama India, in his welcome address, noted, “This event is the bringing together of all three of the mandate pillars as we Educate the audience about our culture, Celebrate our Heritage and Collaborate with many organizations to stage the exciting programs throughout the day.”
Preeti Saran, Consul General of India aptly observed that the Festival’s celebration in Toronto, epitomized India’s national values of democracy, diversity and pluralism.
This year the India Day event went Green! In an effort to reduce pollution, the parade trucks were replaced by beautifully decorated hand pulled rickshaws portraying the sounds, colours and vibrance of India’s culture.
As the day progressed, the crowds swelled despite the inclement weather – nothing could deter the celebration! Following the lively performances of the afternoon, it was calming to listen to Amit Arya, a renowned Indian classical vocalist (and medical doctor by profession). His performance was followed by other headliner performances by the famous kathak dancer, Uma Sharma. The pace picked up again as Panorama India Idol winners sang Bollywood songs that brought the crowd to their feet. The dancing continued as Shweta Subram and her band brought the evening to a close.
Photos by Bashir Nasir
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