Longest-running Sri Lankan cultural show in Canada celebrates 50th year

A young performer at the 50th annual cultural show. (Pictures by Mahesh Abeyewardene)

The Canada Sri Lanka Association (CSLA) celebrated a historic milestone recently with a successful 50th annual cultural show to celebrate Sinhala and Tamil New Year.

The CSLA, inaugurated in 1968, is the first association formed by Sri Lankan immigrants in Toronto. It was originally named the Ceylon Recreation Club. Later the name was changed to Canada Sri Lanka Association of Toronto.

CSLA President Ackiel Ousmand with his board.


It is a non-political, non-racial, non-religious association dedicated to providing cultural, social and sporting activities to the community at large. Over the years this Association has attempted to unite all the ethnic communities of Canadian-Sri Lankans using sporting events.

Cultural performance.

Past president Dianne Ragell recognizes some of the past volunteers and presidents who were able to attend.

Past president Dianne Ragell reflected on the past five decades, honouring all those who served the organization in the past.

Messages were read from the daughters of the first president of the organization, late Mr. Solomon V. Rajanayagam, who held the office in 1969.

Cultural performance.

Among the pioneers of the organization, the late Mr. Bobby Alwis was recognized for his tireless efforts rendered to the organization.

“The Sinhala and Tamil New Year takes place at a time when in rural Sri Lanka the barns are full of the just harvested crop of rice paddy,” said Ahmed Jawad Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to Canada.

Ahmed Jawad, Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to Canada.

“In a broader sense, the event marks the end of the old year and the beginning of a new one filled with hopes and aspirations.”

Meanwhile, Ackiel Ousmand President of the CSLA, recognized his board for coming together organizing the show, and for their participation in the volunteer-driven organization.

Cultural show.

Cultural show.

Masters of Ceremony