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|July 26, 2000|
Bharat, in wide-angle
"Canada is a young country, 153 years old. And, India is even younger, only 53 years old. Indians living in Canada have the privilege to live in one of the best countries and enjoy the best of both worlds -- Canada's strong economy and India's rich heritage."
That was C M Bhandari, consul-general of India in Toronto, speaking at the opening of the 'Panorama India Millennium Festival' and the many events lined up for India's 53rd Independence Day celebrations.
Panorama India 2000 is an extension of the Panorama series that began in 1999 and is based on the "unity in diversity" concept and emphasizes the Vedic norm of Vasudaiva kutumbakam, which means the whole world is one big family.
The guests of the evening were Kunjar Sharma, consul-general of Nepal, and Hazel McCallion, mayor of Mississauga, who "congratulated India on the advent of her Independence Day anniversary" and said, "The contribution of the Indo-Canadian community to Canada's economic and social growth is immense."
The evening saw an elite gathering of Indo-Canadian businessmen and artistes. Special guests, including classical singer Rekha Surya, sitar maestro Partha Bose and tabla whiz Subhajyoti Guha, were flown in from India for the event.
While last year's festivities saw art, culture, film, dance and music shows at Toronto's Harbour Front, this year's celebrations, which will start early August, will be held at the city's Canadian National Exhibition grounds.
Celebrations began as early as July 22, with the 'Indian Heritage Festival 2000' organized by Cultural Reflections. Attendees got a taste of Indian culture with a grand mela [fair] and an all-night party at Island Club at the Ontario Place capping a day of fun, rides, games and a selection of Imax movie experience at the Cinesphere complex. Also included were art and craft exhibits from India, delicacies from Indian cuisine, and bhangra, chutney film songs with music provided by the Sur Bahar Orchestra, Toronto.
August 15 will see the flag-hoisting ceremony at the North York residence of the consul general. Later, a commercial exposition and cultural presentation organized by the Canada-India Business Council jointly with the Canadian National Exhibition will take place on August 18 at the CNE Grounds.
"Many commercial delegates from India will be attending the event which will include trade shows, commercial workshops and promotional trade booths," said Pravin Verma, spokesperson for the CGI, Toronto. Around 1.5 million people are scheduled to attend the celebrations and over 25 trading houses from Indian will participate in the event.
Some other events lined up include: a Felicitation Day organised by the Seniors and Ex-Servicemen's Association. It will be held on August 20 at the Vedic Cultural Centre in Toronto. There's also a unique kavi sammelan being organised by the Association of Women from India in Canada on August 26, a 'Women's Day' organized by AWIC on September 9, and a 'Hindi Diwas' to be held on September 24.
The events are being co-ordinated by the CGI, Toronto, and will be part of the Panorama India 2000 celebrations.
The grand finale will be an A R Rehman Music Show to take place at the CNE on September 30. The show would see a troupe of 100 musicians, singers and Bollywood performers rendering a musical, entertaining evening in Toronto.
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