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South Asians’ growth in Canada phenomenal

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settlements in the West. Several booths displayed their achievements in the Caribbean and North America, and distinctive cuisines from the Punjab, Gujarat, Madras and the Caribbean. The cultural program featured Kathak, Gujarati, Rajasthani, and Kashmiri dances, Sindhi and Caribbean style taan singing, tassa and Indian drumming, and a keynote address by Univerisity of Toronto IT lecturer Dr Reva Joshee.

The parade of events continues this week and throughout May. On Friday the Toronto Tabla Ensemble performs at the Du Maurier Theatre Centre, while on Saturday the Canadian Indo Caribbean Association (CICA) of Hamilton presents a special Sitar & Song presentation by Mr. Partha Bose and Esha Bandhopadhyay and the Indo-Trinidad Canadian Association presents its Mother’s Day Dinner and Dance in Mississauga. A Bakul Phule (Marathi) Concert takes place at the Medical Sciences Auditorium, University of Toronto on Sunday, and Parmela Attiwarala releases her Sapphire Skies CD at the Music Gallery in Toronto.

Some other notable events this month are the display of 150 Years of South Asian Canadian History at City Hall, Toronto on Monday May 19-Friday May 23, Magic Feet’s cultural program Devis and Divas at The Phoenix on Wednesday May 21, and the Indian Arrival Day Cultural Show and Dance by Trinidad and Tobago Association of Ottawa on Sunday May 25. The Gerrard Street Indian Bazaar closes off the month with a Taste of South Asia Street Festival on May 31 from 12.00 p.m. to 10.00 p.m.

One of the milestones certain to be mentioned this year is the growth of Canada’s South Asians past the magic number of one million in Canada. South Asians were counted as 917,100 (just over 3% of Canada’s 31 million people, and 23% of the visible minority population) and growing by an average 6.16% per year. At that rate of growth, South Asians are estimated to number 1,030,086 by the end of this year.

To put it another way, the South Asian population of 973,000 in 2002 was about seven times as big as the population of Prince Edward Island’s 140000, nearly twice New-foundland’s 531,000, well above New Brunswick’s 756,000 and Nova Scotia’s 944,000, and quite close to Manitoba’s 1.1 million and Saskatchewan’s one million.

South Asians live in every province and territory, though Ontario had the highest number of South Asians at 569, 045 in 2001, followed by British Columbia and Quebec. Most live in cities, with Toronto housing 473,800 (10% of the population of 4.7 million), Vancouver 164,400 (8%) Montreal 57,900 (1.7%), Calgary 36,900 (4%), Edmonton 29,100, Hamilton 14,300 (2.2%), Winnipeg 12,300 (2 %), Kitchener 11,200 (3%), Windsor 6,500 (2%), Victoria 5,800 (2%), London 4,900 (1%), Oshawa 4,600 and Regina with 1,683,

South Asians come from everywhere in the world. A solid majority are direct immigrants or descendants of immigrants from South Asian homeland countries like India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal.

Others are "second migration" arrivals from every continent. Well over 100,000 have come via the Caribbean and South America, and are descendants of the half million Indians who started coming to Guyana in and later to Trinidad, Grenada, Jamaica, St Vincent, St Lucia, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Suriname, Cayenne and Honduras.

Africa has contributed numerous second migrants to Canada, notably the Indians expelled from Uganda, and others departing from former homes in Kenya, South Africa, and Tanzania. From far off Mauritius, Fiji, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia and Indonesia come a small stream of South Asians. They come seeking living space after work stints in many Middle Eastern countries, after giving up on residence in Britain, France, Germany, Scandinavia, and even from the United States.

Last Saturday the Vedic Cultural Centre in Markham hosted its Annual celebration in observance of the 165th Anniversary of the Arrival of Indians in the Western World. The programme was two-pronged: firstly, an exhibition of artifacts relating to the origins of Indians and some of the processes of their migration; and secondly, a segment of songs, dances, music and dress display capturing the ambience of life in its variegated cultural forms in the sub-continent. Pictured above are some of the volunteers involved in the planning and execution of an impressive and well organized show.

Toronto celebrates 8th Guyana Festival

Toronto — The tag line on a news release from the Guyana Consulate in Toronto this week reads: "It is the closest you will ever get to Guyana without leaving Toronto." This is followed by the lure of things characteristically Guyanese: "Water coconuts, mangoes, cane juice squeezed before your very eyes, freshly baked cassava bread, Guyanese-style pastries, authentic Amerindian casareep…."

There is promise of much more in store at the 8th Guyana Festival to be held this year from May 16-18. This annual Festival which reportedly attracts crowds of up to 20,000 is Toronto’s version of the Guyana Independence celebrations. May 26 this year marks the 37th anniversary since the country gained independence from Great Britain.

The main attraction of the Festival is undoubtedly the Western Union Celebrity Cricket Match which takes place on May 18 at the L’Amoreaux Community Center and features a Canada XI team versus a Guyana XI.

The Guyana side, comprising several high profile players, is as follows: Narsingh Deonarine, Azeemul Haniff, Sewnarine Chattergoon, Lennox Cush, Asad Fudadin, Vishal Nagamootoo, Mahendra Nagamootoo, Hemnarine Harrinarine, Naresh Roopnarine, Esan Crandon, Rayon Thomas, Krishna Arjune and team Manager/Coach, Clyde Butts.

The Canadians are also posting a star studded team with the likes of Faoud Bacchus, Rovendra Mandolall, Paul Prashad, Arjune Nandu, Sunil Dhaniram, Shivnauth Seeram, Abdool Samad, Davis Joseph, Desmond Chumney, Austin Codrington, Surendra Seeraj, Jonathan Roberts and Ryan Lall.

Other contributors from Guyana to this event include an Amerindian dance group and members of the Body Building Association. Two Guyanese soccer teams are also expected: the Starliners from Maryland D.C and the Camptown from Brooklyn.

A cultural show, "All Hell Bruk Loose," celebrates Guyanese Heritage through drama, music, dance, story telling, poetry and comedy.

The Festival kicks off on May 16 with a Tourism Seminar followed by an Awards Dinner.

A flag raising ceremony at 12:00 noon on May 17 at the L’Amoreaux Community Center signals the commencement of activities at that location

Information on this event may be had from the Guyana Consulate at 416-494-2679.

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