On Sunday, April 27, 2014, the annual Khalsa day parade, also known as Vaisakhi, the Sikh New Year celebration took place in downtown Toronto.
This year's celebrations brought out thousands of supporters who marched from Exhibition Place to Nathan Phillip Square to celebrate the birth of Sikhism, which began in 1699. The city streets were filled with an array of colours, traditional hymns, prayers and community kitchens set up along the route serving free food available for all.
The Khalsa day parade organizers every year request Punjabi-speaking Toronto Police officers and Auxiliary members to attend and assist with facilitation of this parade, which is the third largest parade in the city. The officers familiarity with the Sikh customs, traditions and languages, provides for a harmonious logistical operation for the day of the celebrations.
“I would like to thank the Toronto Police Service for their great partnership with the Sikh community, and always look forward to working alongside with the Toronto police," said secretary of the Ontario Sikh & Gurdwara Council Manjit Singh Parmar.
Staff Superintendent Rick Stubbings, co-chair of the Chief’s South and West Asian Consultative Committee, was invited by organizers to participate in the morning religious ceremonies.
“It was an honor to once again address the Sikh congregation and express the Toronto Police support to the Sikh community on such an auspicious day. It is great to see the pride Service members have when giving back to the community, by providing police services to their own community at a celebration they grew up going to with their families. ”
The Sikh community presented a plaque to the Toronto Police Officers for their contribution, support and dedication to the community.
Photos are courtesy of Gagandeep Banga, Banga Photography