Sikh community in Timmins hosts first Annual Khalsa Day Parade
With hundreds of students from India who attend Northern College, and other professionals from India who've moved to the city to work, organizers said they felt it was time to bring everyone together to celebrate their culture with the rest of the community.
“We celebrate the birth of Khalsa, our Sikh way of life. This is the day we become Sikh back in 1699," said Kanwaljit Bains, director of Sikh Sangat of Timmins.
Sikh Sangat of Timmins established its Gurdwara in December, and on Saturday the first Annual Khalsa Day Parade wound its way throughout the core of Timmins.
The community was invited to immerse itself in a Punjabi festival, the first of its kind for Timmins and all of northern Ontario.
“I just keep thinking after the long dark days of COVID, to see all this joy in the streets of Timmins. This is a historic moment and my prediction is: year after year, this is going to get bigger and bigger and draw more and more people. This is a great moment for our city," said Charlie Angus, NDP MP Timmins-James Bay.
The parade route included parts of the downtown, by Hollinger Park, up Algonquin Boulevard and back to the Gurdwara. Along the way, there were moments to stop for refreshments such as water and fruit.
"All cultures together, absolutely amazing history and food and absolutely gorgeous costumes. We need to have this variety here," said Lilianna Staniz, who came to partake in the event.
Complimentary vegetarian Indian food was available including samosas, mango lassis and fruit with spices
“Masala gives a different flavour to the fruits, so apart from the regular tasting food you get an enhanced taste," explained Navdeep Singh, one of the members serving food.
Part of Sikh culture is to be welcoming and giving; to perform community service and selflessly help others.
'Jazzy B', a Bhangra Punjabi singer and songwriter from Vancouver is also in town to perform.