26th Annual Khasala Parade in Toronto Focuses on Outreach to Young Sikhs

April 26, 2004

Source: Toronto Star


On April 26, 2004 the Toronto Star reported, "A new — and young — generation of Sikhs...carried the torch passed from their elders at the annual Khalsa Day Parade and celebrations in downtown Toronto yesterday. This year's parade drew about 50,000 people, including Premier Dalton McGuinty, Toronto police Chief Julian Fantino and, for the first time, a co-religionist provincial cabinet minister, Harinder Takhar...Outreach to young Sikhs has been a theme for the Sikh parade, which has been a signature event of the community since its inception in 1978. Gurcharan Singh Jauhal, a founder of the annual festival, still recalls the long meetings with community members in the basement of his Scarborough home where enthusiasts prepared the first parade that began at Jarvis Collegiate through Wellesley St. to Queen's Park. 'The community was small at the time, but still more than 500 people showed up at the event. Everyone was just proud to be there and show our presence in Toronto,' said the 73-year-old retired Scarborough high school teacher, who was on the event's organizing committee until 1992. 'The community has grown so much and you see the rows and rows of people in the parade. It has become so large that I cannot fathom it now. But the pride in showcasing our culture has never changed.'"