A flag hoisting ceremony at the Toronto City Hall on 4th February and a cultural event on 5th February were held to celebrate the 69th anniversary of independence of Sri Lanka, in Toronto by the Consulate General in Toronto.
Ontario Premier Kathlyn Wynne, Federal Minister of Science Kirsty Duncan, Senator Salma Ataullahjan, Ontario Provincial Member of Parliament Dr. ShafiqQaadri, Toronto Mayor John Tory, Regional Chair of the Durham Region Roger Anderson and Councillor and a Former Federal Member of Parliament Jim Karygiannis extended their congratulations to the people of Sri Lanka and wished continued success and prosperity for Sri Lanka. The dignitaries who graced the occasions included Senator Ataullahjan, Dr. Qaadri, representing the Premier of Ontario, Karygiannis, representing Toronto City Mayor, Consuls General from Bulgaria, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Pakistan and Turkey and John Argue, Representative for Sri Lanka at Amnesty International Canada.
The events commenced with hoisting the national flag, with the accompaniment of MagulBera, which was followed by singing the Sri Lankan national anthem in Sinhala and Tamil languages and the Canadian national anthem. The traditional oil lamp was lit by dignitaries and thereafter one minute silence was observed to commemorate those who sacrificed their lives on behalf of mother Sri Lanka. The clergy representing Buddhist, Hindu, Islam and Christian religions conducted the religious observances and invoked their blessings to the people and government of Sri Lanka. Independence Day messages from the President, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs were read out in all three languages.
Consul General U L Mohammed Jauhar, during his address to the gathering, highlighted the progress made by the government of Sri Lanka towards achieving its twin objectives of sustainable development and reconciliation. He added that a new chapter in Sri Lanka-Canada bilateral relations was opened, consequent to new governments been elected to office in both countries in 2015. He emphasized the importance of bringing members of all Sri Lankan communities together to face the challenges and to nurture peace and reconciliation among them.