Surrey, B.C.’s Khalsa Parade has been cancelled for another year.
Organizers said the parade, scheduled for April 23, cannot go ahead this year despite hosting a smaller celebration last year.
The city’s day-long celebration is the largest Khalsa Day (Vaisakhi) Parade in the world and draws in excess of 500,000 guests across cultures and religions.
However, organizers said an event of this magnitude takes a full year to plan, 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.”
Organizers said they know this announcement will be disappointing for many but they hope to be able to gather again and celebrate in 2023.
“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,” Gurdwara Sahib Dasmesh Darbar president Moninder Singh said in a release.
“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).”
B.C. health officials said last week that they are not making any changes to COVID-19 vaccine card requirements and mask mandates but they are monitoring the situation.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Tuesday that B.C. will be removing those protections when it is safe to do so.
“We will have continued uncertainty as we move through the summer. We hopefully will be in a good place for the next few months because of the immunity that we have, and where we are, to be able to relieve some of the pressure of some of these measures that are in place,” she said.
“But we need to be prepared for immunity to wane again and for us to have new approaches and adapt depending on what we see come the fall.”