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May 16, 2003
City to host South Asian Heritage Month display and panel discussion
The City of Toronto is celebrating South Asian Heritage Month with a display,
reception and panel discussion on Tuesday, May 20 at 7 p.m. in the rotunda of
City Hall, 100 Queen St. W.

Councillor Sandra Bussin, Co-chair of the South Asian Heritage Month Committee,
said, "It is wonderful that the South Asian community in Toronto has come
together to mount a full month of events that celebrate its culture. South
Asian Heritage Month is a time to pay tribute to the many accomplishments of
Toronto's South Asians."

Councillor Sherene Shaw, the City's Diversity Advocate, said, "I am pleased to
take part in these events recognizing the many contributions of this community
to our city. Today, South Asians form the biggest group of immigrants to
Toronto and play a major role in the social, cultural, economic and political
life of our city."

The display, organized in co-operation with CASSA, the Council of Agencies
Serving South Asians, "Celebrating 150 years of South Asian History in Canada,"
is on view May 20 to 24.

Councillor Bussin will moderate the panel discussion, beginning at 7 p.m.
Panelists include:
  • Raminder Gill, member of the provincial parliament, on the origin of South Asian Heritage Month in Ontario
  • Uzma Shakir, executive director of CASSA, on South Asian settlement in Toronto
  • Herman Silochan, the associate editor of the Caribbean Camera newspaper, on the Indo-Caribbean experience and press and media issues
  • Sherene Razack, professor, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), University of Toronto, on the role and contributions of South Asians in the academic community
  • Vinay Fernandes, member, Toronto Youth Cabinet, on youth and intergenerational issues for South Asian youth born in Canada.

The Gerrard India Bazaar Business Improvement Area, RBC Financial Group, the
South Asian Heritage Foundation and the Jyafest Arts Collective are sponsoring
a number of events throughout the city during South Asian Heritage Month. For
more information, visit the Web site at

In 2001, the government of Ontario proclaimed May as South Asian Heritage Month
and May 5 as South Asian Arrival Day to commemorate May 5, 1838, the date of
the earliest recorded arrival of South Asians in Canada. Mayor Mel Lastman has
also proclaimed May as South Asian Heritage Month and May 5 as South Asian
Arrival Day in Toronto.

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