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Surrey’s huge Vaisakhi parade cancelled again due to ‘tight turnaround’ to plan April event

‘We are disappointed at how this year has turned out,’ event organizer says
Surrey Vaisakhi parade crowd in Newton in April 2018. (File photo: Crystal Scuor)

Surrey’s huge Vaisakhi parade has again been cancelled due to COVID-related issues, for a third straight year.

This year, a lack of planning time is blamed for the cancellation of the April 23 Khalsa Day event, along with “sporadic and last-minute changes to the public health orders.”

The day-long celebration is among the world’s largest Vaisakhi parades, drawing close to 500,000 people to the streets of Newton every spring.

Cancelling the 2022 parade was “a difficult decision,” event organizers said Monday (March 7).

“The magnitude and planning of this event takes a full year to complete, and given the tight turnaround between the constantly changing public health order restrictions being lifted and the scheduled date of the parade, organizers did not feel they could responsibly honour the importance and magnitude of the event in this timeline,” said a news release from event organizers, with Gurdwara Sahib Dasmesh Darbar.

The pandemic led to the cancellation of Surrey’s Vaisakhi parade in both 2020 and 2021.

The annual event celebrates one of the most significant days in the Sikh calendar, the creation of the Khalsa in 1699.

Moninder Singh, president of Gurdwara Sahib Dasmesh Darbar, expanded on the 2022 event cancellation in Surrey.

“We are a Sikh Gurdwara that operates through donations from the Sikh sangat (congregation), and we feel it would be irresponsible on our part to go forward at this time and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on deposits and expenditures in preparation for the event, only to have sporadic and last-minute changes to the public health orders in the future and be pushed to cancel the event later and lose donations which are for supporting important programs in our community,” Singh said.

“Our decision also impacts the thousands of families preparing for the event and spending thousands of dollars of their hard-earned money to serve the community through free food and give-aways on that day in the spirit of Seva (Selfless Service) and Sarbat Da Bhalla (Welfare of all Humanity). We are disappointed at how this year has turned out but look forward to gathering again as a community for the Surrey Khalsa Day (Vaisakhi) Parade in 2023.”

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Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news stories for the Surrey Now-Leader, where I've worked for more than half of my 30-plus years in the newspaper business.
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