BY ROHAN RAI, TORONTO:
Downtown Toronto was witness to a colourful spectrum as thousands of people attended India Day festival at Nathan Phillips Square chanting Vande Matram and Jai Hind amidst a flurry of culture, dance and music. Panorama India, with the support of Consulate General of India, organized the daylong event to celebrate India’s culture and heritage and present music and dance performances, a kid’s zone and an international bazaar with varied kiosks exhibiting fashion, jewellery, handicrafts and an array of food.
“We have 400 local artists, 55 community organizations and 75 vendor booths participating in this India Day Festival held to celebrate India’s 72nd Independence Day anniversary,” says Anu Srivastava, president of Panorama India. “Our mandate is to bring together the local Indian community through the celebration of Unity in Diversity.”
Renowned film actor and former Miss Universe, Lara Dutta, marshalled the grand parade that had 18 floats representing various States of India including Punjab, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Meghalaya as well as several community organizations including Agarwals Based in Canada, Brahmkumaris and various others. India’s culture was well represented as the colourful parade began at University Avenue and Armoury Streets at Nathan Phillips Square, went North to Dundas, East to Yonge Street, South to Queen Street, concluding at Nathan Phillips Square.
The all-day program included a Live concert by renowned Punjabi singer Garry Sandhu and performances by local dancers and Panorama Idol singers.
“Last year 75,000 people attended the festival and this year, looking at the growing zeal and enthusiasm of the audience, we believe we will be able to surpass that number,” said Acting Consul General Saifullah Khan who was there along with several other dignitaries including MPPs Nina Tangri and Deepak Anand as well as Alberta Minister Rajan Sawhney.
Panorama India is a not-for-profit umbrella organization to help unite various Indian cultural associations and groups, project a common identity based on their Indian heritage, and celebrate Unity in Diversity. Established in 1999 with the support from Consulate General of India, Toronto, the organization has a mandate around three pillars – Celebrate, Collaborate and Educate.