Nirmal Beriana (right), Bhupinder Hundal, Harp Pandher and Inderjit Hundal discuss Vaisakhi, feeding the homeless, and hockey. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk).

VIDEO: TD luncheon kicks off Vaisakhi celebration in Surrey

April 21 will mark Surrey’s 20th annual parade

The Toronto Dominion Bank kicked off this year’s Vaisakhi celebration in Surrey with its annual luncheon, which drew 260 attendees to Newton’s Bombay Banquet Hall on Wednesday.

This year’s parade is Saturday, April 21 and will run from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in West Newton, starting at the Gurdwara Sahib Dasmesh Darbar temple at 12885 85th Ave.

Surrey’s 20th annual Vaisakhi parade marks the Sikh new year and is one of the largest such celebrations in the world outside India.

The Surrey RCMP was prepared for a crowd of half a million last year, an incredible number considering the 2016 census put Surrey’s population at 517,887. All told, more than 400,000 people attended the 19th Annual Vaisakhi Parade in 2017, shattering 2016’s record of 350,000 attendees.

SEE VIDEO: Surrey brothers work toward a ‘Foam-Free Vaisakhi

Canada’s Minister of Defence Harjit Singh Sajjan was expected to be the keynote speaker at the luncheon but couldn’t make it and so addressed the crowd by video. “We celebrate the accomplishment of our Indo-Canadian community,” he said. “We celebrate the successes of each and every one that achieved so much because of the cooperation that ties us together as Canadians. Most importantly, we celebrate our diversity. Our prime minister says our strength comes from our diversity.”

“We must build bridges, not barriers,” he said.

A panel then discussed Vaisakhi, feeding the homeless, and Punjabi Hockey Night in Canada.

“Vaisakhi, to me, is the rejuvenation of life,” said Inderjit Singh, of Guru Nanak’s Free Kitchen. “It is a deep-rooted spiritual awakening.”

He is involved with Guru Nanak’s Free Kitchen, a “faith-based” organization which for the past 15 years has fed homeless people in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, at Hastings and Main. Approximately 50,000 meals are prepared each year, Singh said. “This has been happening for 15 years, come rain or shine or snow,” he said.

“It is sponsored by families who feel the need to come forward.”

Harp Pandher and Bhupinder Hundal, of Punjabi Hockey Night in Canada, gave an imaginary play-by-play in Punjabi, to the diners’ delight.

“As much as there has been challenges along the road because we have this distinct identity, the identity itself has given us so much,” Hundal said. “We have this platform and this opportunity. We do have this opportunity to call hockey games and have a lot of fun doing it, but at the same time we need to understand that we have a powerful platform.

“We have a responsibility to ensure that we are creating a better society, that we are creating more of an understanding between the Punjabi community, the Sikh community and other communities that may not have an understanding of who we are and what we represent, to break down some of those barriers, to create new opportunities for up-and-coming youth in our community who may have thought at one point in time that being a sports broadcaster, for example, wouldn’t be a reality but now it’s become a reality.”

Before lunch, the Indian Standard Time group, from the Naad Foundation, performed some classical North Indian music to rousing applause.

homelessphoto



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

Just Posted

‘My friends aren’t going to sell me stuff to hurt me’: South Surrey overdose victim

SPECIAL REPORT: First in a two-part series on Peninsula families losing a loved one to fentanyl

Surrey football streaker hires personal injury lawyer

BC Lions not commenting as matter is ‘now before the courts’

White Rock Whalers coach ‘welcomes the challenge’ of building new team

Jason Rogers excited to build roster for city’s junior ‘B’ expansion team

Mechatronics program at Cloverdale’s KPU Tech now open for applications

Students will learn how to operate, diagnose and repair advanced mechatronics equipment

South Surrey auto-glass repair shop responds to ICBC changes

Three businesses contacted MLA to voice concerns

Trudeau, Horgan condemn controversial U.S. child migrant policy

Premier John Horgan said B.C. ‘will always stand up for the values’ of diversity and inclusion

B.C. creates public registry to track real estate owners

The first registry of its kind in Canada aims to end the hidden property ownership

Polygamous wife appeals conviction in B.C. child bride case

Emily Blackmore was found guilty of taking her underage daughter to U.S. to marry church leader

Sample craft beer, cider, mead, vodka at Langley Libations Tour

Four artisan beverage businesses in Langley take part in Sunday tour

Police watchdog called to Kelowna after car destroyed in crash

A motor vehicle incident has closed Highway 33 in both directions

BC SPCA receives 400 reports of dogs in hot cars so far this year

Society is again urging people to leave their pets at home if they can’t keep them safe in the heat

8 B.C. communities rank as the friendliest in Canada

Eight B.C. communities can claim they are the friendliest in the country.

Heat records broken across B.C. as weather warning lifts

Thirteen records broken across B.C. on Tuesday

Alt-ed program brings mindfulness to the classroom

B.C. school leading the way in anxiety reduction strategies

Most Read

l -->