BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir celebrates Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights in Toronto

A glittering array of twinkles filled the night as traditional candles were lit by devotees during the Diwali and Hindu New Year (Vikram Samvat 2075) Celebrations on Thursday November 8, 2018, at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, located at 61 Claireville Drive, Toronto.

The ancient tradition of lighting candles, or diva, during Diwali symbolizes the transition from darkness to light. While the diva lit on Diwali remove physical darkness, the festival’s rich traditions and rituals go deeper – inviting individuals to make efforts in removing darkness from within, in the forms of anger, envy, greed, arrogance, and resentment.  Diwali presents a time to reflect and introspect.

The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Toronto marked the auspicious festival of Diwali and its associated five days of celebrations with an elaborate Annakut, lighted diva, fireworks, and a special children’s Diwali celebration. The celebrations were open to all. Visitors participated in celebration activities, offered prayers for new beginnings and had the opportunity to taste in the delicious offerings of the Annakut. Several dignitaries also participated in the celebrations.

Addressing the gathering, The Honourable Doug Ford Premier of Ontario said, “said, “Happy Diwali, Happy New Year to everyone. Each and everyone of you make me feel right at home when I come here. I wish everyone in Ontario could see this [the Annakut], it’s absolutely unbelievable. I understand it’s all about ‘Unity’ and what at great message…I just wanted to emphasize, you have treated our family incredibly well here…we are forever grateful to you. The contribution of your community to the province is absolutely incredible.” Continue reading “BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir celebrates Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights in Toronto”

“We honour every Canadian who has served and sacrificed so we may live free”-P.M. Justin Trudeau

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on Remembrance Day:

“Today, we honour every Canadian who has served and sacrificed so we may live free. We fall silent to acknowledge a debt we can never repay. We remember.

“One hundred years ago today, the Armistice between Germany and the Allies ended the First World War. As we commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armistice, we also mark Canada’s Hundred Days.

“During the ‘100 Days Offensive,’ Canadians spearheaded attacks that overcame the last lines of German defences and paved the way to final victory. These soldiers were the face and strength of a young country that sacrificed beyond measure and never faltered in its duty.

“Their bravery garnered the respect and admiration of the world, and marked a turning point for Canada. We began to define ourselves as a country – a force on the world stage, confident, and in control of our own destiny.

“Since then, every generation of Canadians has stepped forward to serve. Thousands have fought, and continue to fight, to defend the principles of peace, freedom, and democracy around the world.

“At 11:00 am, I call on all Canadians to observe the two minutes of silence. We remember every Canadian who has sacrificed their future for generations beyond their own. We stand today, free and at peace, because of them.

“Lest we forget.” Continue reading ““We honour every Canadian who has served and sacrificed so we may live free”-P.M. Justin Trudeau”

Prime Minister of Canada welcomes new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, yesterday welcomed an agreement-in-principle between Canada, the United States, and Mexico on a modernized trade agreement – the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) – that will create good, well‑paying, middle class jobs, strengthen economic ties, and expand Canada’s trade in North America.
Following more than a year of negotiations, the three countries have reached understandings in key areas, including rules of origin for automotive manufacturing, agriculture, labour, intellectual property rights, culture, and dispute settlement.

Further, Canada has ensured that any US Section 232 tariffs will not impact Canadian auto and auto parts exports. Canada has successfully preserved key elements of the original NAFTA, while building on the agreement to expand opportunity and improve protections for workers across North America. The resulting agreement offers crucial predictability and stability for Canadian businesses, investors, traders, workers, and innovators.

Throughout the negotiations, Canada’s approach has been constructive. Negotiating objectives remained clear: defend Canadians’ interests, uphold Canadian values, and fight for Canadian jobs and living standards within an agreement that is mutually beneficial for all three countries.

When implemented, the USMCA will help Canadians compete globally and prosper in a healthy, integrated North American economy. The Government of Canada will continue to engage with North American partners to finalize the details of an agreement that benefits all Canadians. Continue reading “Prime Minister of Canada welcomes new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement”

‘Roobha’ – She’s enchanting…and then she dances!

The 18th Reelworld Film Festival will feature the film ‘Roobha’ as their opening night Gala on October 9th.  The evening will include a cocktail reception, the Toronto premiere of opening feature film ROOBHA, and an engaging Q&A with director LENIN M. SIVAM and special guests. 

Speaking  an exclusive interview with the director Lenin Sivam says it is “. A raw multi-layered look into feelings that many don’t understand. A relationship develops between an older Sri Lankan man and a young woman. He’s… married, with children, and she’s… a trans-woman. Yes, it’s complicated, but it’s also a beautifully thoughtful portrayal of what we all want… to love and be loved.”​

Roobha weaves a unique romantic tale that deals with the complexities of personality and gender identity within the South-Asian community. Roobha, a trans-woman, struggles to make a living in Toronto after she is ostracized by her family. Her chance encounter with a family man, Anthony, leads to a beautiful romance. However, their blissful existence is short lived as their families soon discover their relationship.

When asked if the passing of the Bill 377 recently would make a difference in how the film is perceived, Lenin says that certainly, it would have a positive impact. He is excited about the film being one of the feature presentations in an upcoming Film Festival in India as well. The LGBT community in India  is currently rejoicing and celebrating their victory and the timing of this film couldn’t have been more perfect.

It is a taboo subject among the South Asians, and they are not ready to accept this and the film will aim to tell a beautiful love story, so that there’s more acceptance. The director says that we need to accept our transgender members for who they are with open arms. He hopes that the film can at least initiate a meaningful dialogue. Continue reading “‘Roobha’ – She’s enchanting…and then she dances!”

Gender Equality Benefits Everyone

Government of Canada marks the first-ever Gender Equality Week

Canada is celebrating the first ever Gender Equality Week from September 23 to 29, 2018!

The theme for Gender Equality Week is Gender equality benefits everyone, inspired by the vision of a gender equal society and the benefits of advancing gender equality to women, men and people of all gender identities. When we make progress towards gender equality, #EveryoneBenefits!

This week is an opportunity for people from coast to coast to coast to celebrate the progress we’ve made in advancing gender equality in Canada, while reflecting on the work that remains to make sure that everyone – regardless of their gender – can reach their full potential.

Gender Equality Week is the result of Bill C-309, the Gender Equality Week Act, which received Royal Assent on June 21, 2018. This legislation designates the fourth week in September as Gender Equality Week.

Throughout the week, show your support with the hashtag #EveryoneBenefits and tell us why gender equality is important to you. Continue reading “Gender Equality Benefits Everyone”

TIFF TOP FIVE: SPARKLE, SIZZLE & SHINE

TIFF stands with women in front of and behind the camera. In the film industry, like any other, women play different roles as actresses, film directors, film producers cinematographers, and other film industry professionals. Due to cinegoers, film lovers and the movies they champion, these past years have been incredible for women.
Some of the top films that were screened at TIFF this year, were women centric, either in lead roles or in the creative aspect.

Presenting the ‘Top 5’ films in my opinion, based on screenplay, acting, and theme.

A STAR IS BORN

Hollywood’s most enduring story of love and ambition gets a glorious reinvention in Bradley Cooper’s A Star Is Born. Drawing deep on the pleasures audiences previously discovered in the 1937, 1954, and 1976 versions, Cooper brings the narrative right up to the present. He takes on the role of the fame-weary star himself and, for the ingénue with megawatt potential, he crafts a perfect big-screen role for Lady Gaga.
As an actor, Cooper has worked with Clint Eastwood and David O. Russell; here he shows both Eastwood’s unfussy economy and Russell’s emotional intensity. But the style is entirely his, finding its biggest moments in scenes between just two people, and stripping away any excess to showcase Gaga’s confident, honest performance. Both intimate and epic, this is a love story that hovers between the shadow of tragedy and the bright light of artists at their peak. Continue reading “TIFF TOP FIVE: SPARKLE, SIZZLE & SHINE”

Nirmala Armstrong: Councillor, Contributor, Leader, Lawyer

Regional Councillor Nirmala Armstrong is a popular, well-respected person not only in the City of Markham, but the entire GTA and beyond. In addition to being the first South Asian woman to become Regional Councillor, she is also a highly regarded lawyer who has been a sole practitioner for 20 years and was also a lecturer in the Faculty of Family Law for the Ontario Bar Admission at the Law Society of Upper Canada.

Ever since being elected as a Regional Councillor for the City of Markham in 2014, Nirmala Armstrong has worked tirelessly within the community to serve the members. She has been a recipient of several awards, including the ‘Inspiring Women Award from ANGEENA International Non-Profit Organization, the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medals for outstanding contributions to the community at large.

The initiatives and accomplishments of Nirmala Armstrong are far too many to describe, so suffice it to say that she has worked on projects like ending ‘Youth Homelessness’, raising awareness about ‘Domestic Violence Against Women’, promoting participation of women in sports etc. Continue reading “Nirmala Armstrong: Councillor, Contributor, Leader, Lawyer”

More Families to Reunite in Canada

To help reunite even more parents and grandparents with their families in Canada, the Government of Canada announced that we will accept up to 20 000 applications for the
sponsorship of parents and grandparents, in 2019. This is 4 times the number of applications accepted when the program reopened in 2014, when the cap was set at 5000 applications.
This decision to increase the number of applications that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will accept for processing is a result of continually high demand in the Parents
and Grandparents (PGP) Program and the fact that we have significantly reduced the backlog of applications. The inventory has dropped from a peak of 167 000 people, in 2011, to just under 26
000 people, in June 2018.

After increasing the 2018 cap to 17 000 complete applications, IRCC sent a second round of invitations to randomly selected potential sponsors who submitted an Interest to Sponsor form in
early 2018. Those invited to the second round have until October 5, 2018, to submit a complete application.

Minister Hussen also announced that, as a result of listening to stakeholders and closely examining the PGP Program, the government is making further changes to the application intake
process that will streamline access to the program and improve client experience. Using this modified intake process will give the government more flexibility in the application
process, ensuring that we receive as many applications as possible. Continue reading “More Families to Reunite in Canada”

Amazon creates hundreds of jobs in Ottawa

Every time you click to buy something online, the many people working behind the scenes help get that product to your doorstep. From receiving orders to packaging and shipping, e‑commerce provides new job opportunities for the middle class and people working hard to join it.

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today visited the future site of Amazon’s new 92,900 square-metre warehouse in Ottawa’s east end. The facility will create over 1,500 construction jobs, and over 600 full-time jobs once it opens.

With the fastest-growing economy in the G7, Canada is a top destination for businesses to invest, grow, and create jobs. The Government of Canada has welcomed many important global investments that have created thousands of good, middle class jobs for Canadians. Today, the country’s unemployment rate is at its lowest level since the 1970s.

Amazon’s expansion will continue to create good, middle class jobs, and offer new opportunities for Canadians to prepare for the jobs of tomorrow.

“I am thrilled that Amazon has once again chosen to invest in Canada, and build its next fulfillment centre in Ottawa. This new centre will create over 600 good, middle class jobs for Canadians while further establishing Canada as a hub of tech and innovation.”

The Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada Continue reading “Amazon creates hundreds of jobs in Ottawa”

Panorama India to mark India’s Independence Day by showcasing India’s culture and heritage

INDIA DAY FESTIVAL AND GRAND PARADE EXPECTED TO DRAW OVER 50,000 PEOPLE AT CITY HALL

  More than 50,000 people are expected to converge at Nathan Philips Square to celebrate the 19th Annual India Day Festival and Grand Parade on Sunday, August 19, 2018.   Organized by Panorama India, with the support of Consulate General of India, the all-day event to celebrate India’s culture and heritage will present music and dance performances, a kids zone and an international bazaar with 100 kiosks exhibiting fashion, jewellery, handicrafts and an array of food.  The King of Bhangra Malkit Singh, Indo-Canadian singer Parichay and Indian Actor Pukhraj Bhalla will be on hand to perform for the massive crowds.

The event kicks off with the National Anthem at 1pm followed by the Grand Parade, marshalled by Bollywood actor Jimmy Sheirgill.  According to organizers, the grand parade will have 20 floats representing the various States of India put together by the diverse number of cultural groups in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). The parade will begin at Nathan Phillips Square, journey west to University Avenue, turning North to Dundas, East to Yonge Street, South to Queen Street and culminating back at City Hall.

Consul General of India in Toronto, Amb. Dinesh Bhatia will preside over the India Day event with participation from several political dignitaries from all levels of government. Continue reading “Panorama India to mark India’s Independence Day by showcasing India’s culture and heritage”