The South Asian Times

20 August 2019 16:19 PM

I-Day celebrated with fanfare in Toronto, top leaders join in

Toronton:  Top Canadian leaders, including Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, ministers and MPs, joined thousands of Indians in advance celebrations of India’s 66th Independence Day celebrations here on Aug 10 featuring cultural performances and a colorful parade in core downtown.

Congratulating Indians at day-long Independence day celebrations at Yonge-Dundas Square, Premier Kathleen Wynne said, “It is a wonderful celebration and I wish you a safe and happy Independence Day.’’

She praised the contribution of the Indo-Canadians for enriching Canada through their hard work and cultural diversity.

“You have strengthened our country through your hard work,’’ the Premier said at the annual event organized by Panorama India – an umbrella organization of various Indian associations.

Highlighting deepening relations between India and the largest Canadian province, she said Ontario and India have a lot in common as both were models of democracy and multiculturalism.

Lauding the contribution made by the Indo-Canadians in strengthening these bilateral ties, the Premier said Ontario is “fortunate to have half a million people who trace their origin to India.’’

She praised outgoing Indian consul general Preeti Saran for her contribution to strengthening bilateral ties between India and Ontario. “Preeti is one of the most gracious persons I have ever met,’’ Kathleen Wynne said.

Thanking the Premier, Preeti Saran called her the `dearest friend’ of India and said India and Ontario shared deep bonds of friendship and common values.

Panorama India Chair Jibanjit Tripathy said freedom remains the most cherished word in human history, and India’s freedom “remains the most cherished and recognized” event in world history. “As we continue to celebrate our independence, we remember those sacrificed their lives so that we could live a free nation,” Tripathy said.

He said Indo-Canadians are proud of their unique heritage and culture as well as being part of Canadian mosaic of multiculturalism.

In his speech, Tim Uppal, Canadian minister minister of state for multiculturalism, praised the immense contribution made Indo-Canadians to Canada.

Parliamentary secretary and senior-most Indo-Canadian MP Deepak Obhrai highlighted how India stood out in the world today for its vibrant democracy and economic growth and how it has become a role model for many countries since it began journey as an independent nation.

Senator Asha Seth read out Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s message of greetings for the Indo-Canadians.

In his congratulation message read by MP John McCallum, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau said, “Such festivities work to connect our Indian communities with all Canadians…I, and the Liberal Party of Canada, believe that this country is great not in spite of its diversity, but because of it, and these celebrations further enrich society by introducing people to Indian culture and traditions.”

After the opening ceremonies were over, a big India Day Parade went around the downtown core, giving a glimpse of life in various Indian states.  Decorated rickshaws and cultural troupes representing various Indian states added color to the parade. It was followed by a cultural extravaganza.

Update: 18 Aug, 2013