Third annual Sikh Community Day Event a “huge” success

July 13, 2018   ·   0 Comments

By Mike Pickford

More than 150 residents descended upon Island Lake Conservation Area this past Saturday to support the third-annual Sikh Community Day Event in Orangeville.

Presented by the Orangeville Sikh Society, the event featured speeches from various local Sikh business owners and organizations, each informing those in attendance about the uniqueness of the Sikh religion.

Sikhism is the fifth largest religion in the world. It believes in there being one creator, an “infinite force all around us that is the source of everything” according to one local speaker. The event has been organized by Narinder Singh for each of its three years in town and he spoke to the Citizen over the weekend to discuss why this event is so important for the community.

“Our intention, through offering Sikh Community Day Event, is to educate all of our friends in the community about Sikhism. Sikh Community Day Event strives to bring together the Dufferin County and surrounding areas’ community together to celebrate our culture, religion and ethnic backgrounds” Mr. Singh said. “Only when we come together to understand each other is when unity breeds.”

He added, “Our first event was a learning exercise, but last year we saw a little more people come out and this year is a huge success. I am very happy with how the day went.”

Amongst those in attendance was Orangeville Mayor Jeremy Williams, Coun. Nick Garisto, Dufferin-Caledon MP Sylvia Jones and local Police Chief Wayne Kalinski. The event doubled as a fundraiser of sorts for the Orangeville Food Bank, with the organization’s Executive Director Heather Hayes on hand to collect non-perishable food items donated by the community.

“I have to say a huge thank you to the community and a huge thank you to Narinder and the rest of the Sikh community,” Ms. Hayes said. “One month ago we received a donation of 1,100 pounds of food from the Sikh community, and here they are helping us out again.”

She added, “We are currently serving around 520 people a month, 40 percent of those being children. It’s because of donations like this and community-minded organizations like the Orangeville Sikh Society that we’re able to meet the needs in our area.”

Gurmant Singh, a member of the Nihang Sikh Warrior Battalion, was dressed in traditional warrior clothing and spoke to attendees about the Sikh community’s involvement in global conflicts. Lisa Post, Andy MacIntosh and Simran Bhamu, who have all submitted their papers to run in the upcoming municipal election, also had a chance to address those in attendance.

Echoing the words of those who spoke before him, Mayor Williams summed the event up perfectly in a short speech that ended with three words – “we are one”.

In what was a sweltering day under the summer sun, Mr. Singh thanked all of the community members, sponsors and volunteers who helped make this year’s Sikh Community Day Event a success.

“This is all about creating an immersive society. I’m so pleased the people of Orangeville have made this a great day. Now we look forward to next year’s fourth annual event, which we hope will be even bigger and even better,” Mr. Singh concluded.

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