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Toronto Nagar Kirtan

29 April 2012

nagarkirtan12_3On April 29th, Sikhs across the GTA gathered to celebrate the 313th anniversary of the Khalsa. It was a cool but sunny afternoon as the Sri Guru Granth Sahib and sangat proceeded in the Nagar Kirtan, passing along five kilometres of Toronto’s streets from the CNE to City Hall. About 10,000 people participated in the parade at the CNE and more joined in along the route while lots more waited for the arrival at City Hall. This year, Nimratvir led the Foundation’s 56 volunteers in managing the buses for the sixth consecutive year. In the morning, volunteers were scattered at 17 pick-up locations, stretching from Burlington to Whitby and including a Shuttle Bus service between the CNE and City Hall.

At 1:00pm, the Nagar Kirtan left the CNE and the volunteers leap-frogged to City Hall so that they could identify the different stop locations along University, Armoury and Chestnut Streets by holding up signs to indicate the different bus routes. This year, the sangat had to wait more than an hour for the roads to be opened as some parade floats had closed off University Ave. This caused large crowds to gather at the stops; Dixie had over 1000 people in their line and, of course, this resulted in a lot of panic and pushing when the buses did arrive. Most of the sangat were well behaved, however, and cooperated with the volunteers and everyone had left by 7:45pm. Although there was disappointment expressed by the volunteers at the behavior of some and there were many people who had ideas of how it could be organized better, very few actually do this seva because it is challenging.