Lt. Governor of Ontario attends CSLA’s 49th annual new year celebrations

The Lieutenant Governor was joined by Ahmed Jawad the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to Canada . Pictures by Bobby Vijay

Elizabeth Dowdeswell Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, representative of Queen Elizabeth, The Queen of Canada attended the 49th annual Sinhala and Tamil New Year celebrations and cultural show presented by Canada Sri Lanka Association (CSLA) of Toronto.

“For 49 years, the Canada Sri Lankan Association has fostered cultural unity and fellowship, and shared prosperity as well. You are the oldest Sri Lankan organization in Canada, and I congratulate the many staff, volunteers, and supporters who help organize sporting and cultural events that are open to all, regardless of ethnic background. You are sowing the seeds of social cohesion here in Ontario,” Lt. Governor Dowdeswell said in her remarks.

49th Annual Cultural show.

49th Annual Cultural show.

“And today’s New Year celebration, in spring, signifies a renewal of nature and allows us to look forward to the promise of the year ahead. And we do have much to look forward to. This year, we mark the 150th anniversary of Confederation. As we celebrate we are of course mindful that the legacy of First Nations and Métis Peoples in Ontario as stewards of this land stretches back much longer than 150 years. I therefore recognize that today we are gathered on a sacred meeting place for the many Indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island.”

The Lt. Governor was joined by Ahmed Jawad the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to Canada and ULM Jauhar Consul General of Sri Lanka in Toronto as guests of honour for the event.

Participants of the cultural show.

Participants of the cultural show.

CLSA New Year Celebrations.

CLSA New Year Celebrations.

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. 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, cultural events.

The Association has kept the traditions of the Sinhala and Tamil New Year alive in the community by organising the Sri Lankan New Year Celebrations every April.

The Lt. Governor later met with the visiting  High Commissioner.

 

Lieutenant Governor’s remarks
49th annual Sinhala and Tamil New Year celebration

Full Text

As prepared for delivery

I am delighted to be with you today for this 49th annual Sinhala and Tamil New Year celebration of the Canada Sri Lankan Association of Toronto. I am grateful to have been invited to take part in this festive occasion.

49th Anuual Cultural Show by CSLA Toronto.

49th Anuual Cultural Show by CSLA Toronto.

In my travels around Ontario as your Lieutenant Governor, I have been so fortunate to be welcomed with warmth and hospitality by communities large and small—something that continues today. The enthusiasm on display by so many members of the Sri Lankan community at this gathering is hugely inspiring.

For 49 years, the Canada Sri Lankan Association has fostered cultural unity and fellowship, and shared prosperity as well. You are the oldest Sri Lankan organization in Canada, and I congratulate the many staff, volunteers, and supporters who help organize sporting and cultural events that are open to all, regardless of ethnic background. You are sowing the seeds of social cohesion here in Ontario.

And today’s New Year celebration, in spring, signifies a renewal of nature and allows us to look forward to the promise of the year ahead. And we do have much to look forward to. This year, we mark the 150th anniversary of Confederation. As we celebrate we are of course mindful that the legacy of First Nations and Métis Peoples in Ontario as stewards of this land stretches back
much longer than 150 years. I therefore recognize that today we are gathered on a sacred meeting place for the many Indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island.

This is a year for reflecting on the progress we have made as Canadians, and also for thoughtful consideration and genuine dialogue about what we want for the future. I invite all of you to take part in daring to imagine what we might accomplish 50, 100, or even 150 years from now.

Our country has for many decades taken pride in welcoming immigrants and refugees from beyond our shores, people who have taken great personal risks so that they might contribute to our society as members of the Canadian Family. And, over time, communities of newcomers have defined what it means to be Canadian.

CSLA members , organizers.

CSLA members , organizers.

New Canadians have offered us—and continue to offer us—their knowledge, their hard work and their unique perspectives to make us a culturally richer place with broader horizons, and a more compassionate and caring country too.

Together we are on paths of reconciliation—paths that allow us to sustain certain traditions yet find ways to prosper together—living together in peace and harmony. This sharing of experiences and dialogue truly speaks to who we are as Canadians: a generous, empathetic, and accepting people.

I wish you a healthy and joyous New Year. Thank you for your significant contribution to this province and to Canada.

Thank you. Merci. Miigwech.