BRAMPTON: The Indian-origin community in
Canada is preparing for expansive 2021 Independence Day celebrations on August
15 as Covid-19 restrictions in the country have been relaxed following high
event will be held in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) as “India Day” will be
marked on Sunday with a drive-thru parade, organised by Panorama
India, which is a Canada-based community body.
“India Day” parade and celebrations were in-person events until 2019, when it
attracted nearly 85,000 persons at its downtown Toronto venue.
towers in the GTA cities of Brampton and Mississauga will be illuminated in the
colours of the India flag on Sunday evening, as will Toronto’s iconic landmark
building, CN Tower.
year, the parade was held entirely online due to the coronavirus pandemic, but
plans for this year’s big occasion are ambitious.
are expecting nearly 1,000 vehicles to participate in the drive-thru event in
Mississauga, in the GTA. The event will also feature live performances
depicting the culture of 21 states.
will also be live-streamed, with Panorama India head
Sumeeta Kohli saying the emphasis is on “safety” while creating an outing
experience for demographics worst hit by pandemic measures, such as seniors and
said the “effort” was “to bring back the feeling of live celebration and yet
ensure safety and all Covid protocols”. She added they wanted to “make the
first ever India Day drive thru parade a unique and special event”.
of cars will feature in celebrations planned in British Columbia, as the
organizations – Friends of India in Canada and Gurukul Canada – are putting together
a Tiranga Yatra that will feature a cavalcade of vehicles travelling from the
town of Surrey to the Indian consulate in Vancouver.
Neema Manral, secretary of Friends of India in
they expected over 300 cars to participate in the rally to mark the day. “We’ve
invited people from all communities and have taken police permission for the
route,” she said.
Calgary, in the province of Alberta, will host an in-person event dubbed India
Fest at an indoor venue in the city. However, keeping Covid-related safety in
mind, organisers will limit attendance to 250 people.
organiser Sonia Joshi said the focus is on “freedom” this year as the community
felt like hostages to the pandemic for months. The attempt this year is at “bringing
us all together in a safe environment with almost all vaccinated”, she said.
cities will also witness celebratory events, including Montreal, where a
flag-hoisting ceremony is being organised by the Canada-India Global Forum, its
national president Shivendra Dwivedi said.
traditionally hosts an “India Day” parade, organised by the India Canada Organisation, which Canadian Prime
Minister Justin Trudeau had attended in 2017. However, festivities will be
limited to a park, with attendance capped at 50 persons.