B.C. celebrated Vaisakhi this weekend with the historic charter signing of Canada’s first cadet corps formed by the Sikh community in Surrey and the annual parade in Vancouver.
Vaisakhi marks the Sikh New Year, pays tribute to the harvest and commemorates one of the most important days in the Sikh calendar — the creation of the Khalsa.
The Khalsa was founded in 1699 as a Sikh brotherhood and sisterhood to fight adversity and continues to be at the heart of Sikhism.
The charter signing gala for the 3300 BCR (Bhai Kanhaiya) Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps in Surrey on Friday night was attended by Defence Minister Jason Kenney, National Revenue Minister Kerry-Lynne Findlay, Minister of State for Multiculturalism Tim Uppal, B.C. Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services Amrik Virk, a host of MPs, MLAs, municipal politicians and about 400 guests and military personnel.
Rear Admiral Bill Truelove, Commander of Maritime Forces Pacific, hailed the Sikh community for supporting the Bhai Kanhaiya cadets and saluted the efforts of Vancouver newspaper publisher Harbinder Sewak, the architect of what has become one of Canada’s fastest growing cadet units.
Kenney said the Bhai Kanhaiya cadets continue the long tradition of service by the Sikh community to the military and prepare young Canadians to become tomorrow’s leaders.
The formation of this unique cadet corps has triggered interest across Canada and as far away as London, England, in localities with sizable Sikh populations.
On Saturday, the annual Vancouver Vaisakhi Parade attracted tens of thousands of spectators to southeast Vancouver and the neighbourhood near the Ross Street Temple where the festivities began.
For a photo gallery of the parade, go to theprovince.com.