Today I went down to the Festival of South Asia in Toronto’s Little India. (Gerrard Street East and Coxwell Avenue). As soon as I got there I saw Mayor John Tory along with Toronto-Danforth Councillor Paula Fletcher. They were being introduced to local business owners by Tasneem Bandukwala, TD Festival of South Asia Executive Director, and Gerrard India Bazaar Manager.
The street fest was just getting underway and it wasn’t too busy at this point. I was able to take in all the sights before it got crowded. There were racks of colourful clothing between yummy food vendors. I also spotted lots of activities for kids - a sidewalk chalk area, bubbles, jump rope to name a few.
As for entertainment, the first stage I passed was closest to Coxwell Avenue. The Mere Mortals were playing here. They’re a Canadian ‘folk'n'roll’ band. Walking further along, I spotted an area where Cricket was being demonstrated. They were inviting people to give it a try. Tumako was playing on the Main Stage. They are a funk, afrobeat and soul band. While both bands were great, I was eager to experience a traditional South Asian performance. I continued walking west along Gerrard. I came across an area with two cycle rickshaws and an auto rickshaw. A great spot for people to take photos. Heading towards the west end of the festival, there was a stage that was demonstrating yoga. Beside it, they had a hula-hoop area which was fun to watch.
I grabbed an ice cream and did some people watching. I spotted three women in fancy traditional clothing walking towards the rickshaw area. They were posing for pictures and let us know they were performing soon. I followed them over to the main stage area. Sure enough, the band members of Tumako were packing up. Soon children from Sanskrit Arts began performing a traditional dance. They were great! Amazing coordination between the dancers and such emotion was shown! I loved the colourful clothing against the similarly colourful background. There was quite a crowd at this point.
Unfortunately, it began to rain and people ran to take cover under some tents and inside stores. The performance went on until the rain started coming down quite hard and the wind picked up. I stuck around for a bit, taking some pictures of the rain, hoping it would stop. It did stop briefly, but started up again soon after. I had spent about 3 hours at the festival and it was time to head home.
I found out afterwards that I had missed the parade. They also had some Bollywood performers at night. It looked like there was a dance party by the pictures I’ve seen. I will have to go later in the day next year to check out the prime time. Definitely an event worth going to.
More pictures below…