By Teresa Wat
Minister Responsible for Multiculturalism
VANCOUVER - Last Saturday, Premier Christy Clark and tens of thousands of people took time to enjoy the annual Vaisakhi parade in Vancouver - and for good reason. This special day celebrates the beginning of the Nanakshahi calendar year, which usually occurs on April 13 and April 14 once every 36 years. It also marks the beginning of harvest season for the winter crops in India so in many ways it is similar to Thanksgiving in North America.
Events like the Vaisakhi parade attract people from every culture, and give us a chance to experience the diversity that makes Vancouver, and all of British Columbia, so special.
Since I became Minister Responsible for Multiculturalism last spring, I have attended many events throughout the province. One thing that really stands out for me is how proud we are in B.C. of our cultural heritage. I’ve seen beautiful art installations, amazing dance and theatre performances, and talked one-on-one with people from many cultures.
These are just a few examples of the many ways we can all experience the unique cultural mosaic that is British Columbia.
This blending of cultures and traditions has made us what we are today. Our diverse communities have always played an important role in the development of our society - socially, economically and culturally. They have contributed mightily to our past and to our present and will play a vital role in our future. Today, British Columbia continues moving forward as a welcoming and inclusive society.
Cultural diversity is the fabric of our province and is a competitive advantage to creating a strong economy. As Minister Responsible for Multiculturalism, I am proud to be part of a province, a government and a community of many voices. Our government remains committed to challenging racial intolerance and promoting the inclusiveness that we all value as a modern, tolerant, multicultural society.
While the Vancouver Vaisakhi Parade took place last weekend, the good news for those who could not attend is that Surrey also holds a huge Vaisakhi Parade. This Saturday the parade will begin at approximately 9:30 a.m. at Gurdwara Sahib Dasmesh Darbar Temple, located at 12885-85 Avenue.
The parade attracts about 100,000 spectators and some of the many good reasons to go are to enjoy the people, the culture, and of course, the delicious Sikh cuisine.
Every day we are given opportunities to reach out to our communities, our families and our neighbours to appreciate the differences that define us and to recognize that diversity enriches us all - the Vaisakhi parade is a prime example. I encourage all to attend and join in celebration, and look forward to seeing you there.