Archive | Youth Event

T.O. LIGHT THE NIGHT – A Chance to Discover, A Chance to Give

Posted on 06 October 2010 by .

On October 2, 2010, from sunset to sunrise, the city of Toronto came alive with Scotia Bank’s Nuit Blanche. TO Light the Night, an epic scavenger hunt, was the brain child of a group of socially conscious, young professionals. This event offered Torontonians a chance to discover the art and diversity of Toronto and a chance to give to the Pakistan Flood Relief Effort. The current flood crisis in Pakistan has affected over one-fifth of the nation, leaving millions homeless; reportedly one of the largest humanitarian disasters in living memory. The organizers, Sheila Lakhoo, Nasreen Ramji and Noor Ramji, saw an opportunity through Nuit Blanche, to raise awareness about Toronto’s artistry, diversity, sense of social responsibility and promote contribution to humanitarian efforts.

At 8:00pm, 13 teams, 52 participants descended upon Hunt Headquarters at Tequila Bookworm (512 Queen St. W) to donate and begin their scavenge of Nuit Blanche. To increase awareness about the cause, interactive real-time bonus clues relating to Pakistan were published on the TO Light the Night Twitter page. Throughout the night, participants were entertained at headquarters by DJs Mista Jiggz and Kush Nubia who generously donated their services for the night.  The hunt officially ended at midnight with Team Al-Azhar the first to return with 122 points, only to be defeated by grand prize winner Team FAAHN, returning only seconds later with 145 points.


A grand total of $7,500 (including matching by an anonymous corporate sponsor and the government of Canada) was raised through this event. All proceeds were donated to FOCUS Humanitarian Assistance Canada, a partner of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

Through our “STARS” corporate sponsorship program, Afzal Huda donated $3,000 worth of photography services for our grand prize. Blushberry (John St), Manic Coffee (College St.) and Starbucks (Bay St.) provided additional prizes for our participants.

TO Light the Night Team Bio: TO Light the Night is the brain child of a group of socially conscious, young professionals. They saw an opportunity, through Nuit Blanche, to raise awareness about Toronto’s artistry, diversity, sense of social responsibility and promote contribution to humanitarian efforts.

Organizers: Sheila Lakhoo, Nasreen Ramji, Noor Ramji; Scavenger Hunt Developers: Ijaz Jamal, Rizwan Mawani, Afzal Huda, Nushin Daya.

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Low turnout for Miss Pakistan World Pageant

Posted on 25 August 2010 by .

In spite of bitter criticism, Miss Pakistan World Pageant contestants’ cat walked to win the title of Miss Pakistan Worldwide. The calls of the community to cancel or postpone the event in the holy month of Ramadan and in the wake of deaths of over 1,500 Pakistanis in floods were rejected by the organizers of the pageant.

Annie Rupani - Winner of Miss Pakistan Worldwide,

No wonder the turnout was extremely low.

Naira Malik - 1st runners up with Barira Lateef - 2nd runners up

The organizers report that the number of people who attended the event was about 350. The Toronto Star reported that there were only about 200 or so attendees. Ms. Sonia Ahmad, President of Miss Pakistan World, alleged the Star reporter to be “biased” and that “they [The Star] have their own agenda.”

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Miss India Canada 2010 pageant “Wowed”

Posted on 25 August 2010 by .

With a red carpet entrance, dazzling cocktail hour, and stunning stage set provided by Dream Party Decor, patrons were “Wowed” right from the very beginning. The 16 contestants began the evening with a high-energy dance sequence that captivated the audience and kept them in their seats for the remainder of the evening.

Anokhi, 1st runners up

Maaza Jan, 2nd runners up

It was a night of entertainment, prestige and glamour all rolled up into one; the 20th annual MISS INDIA-CANADA Event had it all! The sold out show was proudly supported by Rogers. The event was truly a memorable experience that those present will remember for years to come. Other sponsors included India Tourism, Om Financial, Cuisine of India Catering, Bigen Speedy Hair Colour, and Airliners, to name a few.

Organizers, Sanjay Agnihotri and Gautam Sharma were then called upon to say a few words and then presented Bollywood Star, Suniel Shetty with the Special Achievement Award.

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South Asian Youth Conference

Posted on 25 August 2010 by .

Youth are Not Future, they’re Shaping Our Present – Amit Gupta, Co Chair of ABC Youth

Youth has a lot of potential and has so much to offer in terms of ideas and opinions, however they are not taken seriously.

This was the main motivation of the organizers of South Asian Youth conference was to gather the youth over the weekend at Hill Tree.

Amit Gupta-Co-Chair of ABC Youth

“Generally we find that there is a disconnect between what we do as community organization and youth..we want more participation from youth,” says Mr. Amit Gupta, Co-Chair of ABC Youth.

Meera Gupta-Co-Chair of ABC Youth

“Youth can come out and tell us what they want. Usually it’s always the parents’ function, and youth is sitting on the side, saying when are we going home,” adds Ms. Meera Gupta, Co- Chair of ABC Youth when asked why they have organized such a conference.

But who do we call youth. United Nations terms individuals between the ages of 15 – 24 as youth. We, at Generation Next, define youth as people between the ages of 15 – 40. And the organizers of the youth conference struggled with the questions. Eventually they decided for the purpose of this conference, youth are people between the ages of “ 14 – 30.”

The wider age range was also chosen for the younger group to learn from those who have finished college and are starting to work in professional environment.  “We’re also giving them a chance to network,” says Ms. Meera Gupta.

The need for having a South Asian Youth Conference was also felt because “youth need to interact more with parents and understand parents’ perspective. Youth have a lot to offer..but we weren’t able to tap into youth’s talent,” says Ms. Mini Gupta, one of the delegates of South Asian Youth Conference.

“Youth are the present. They’re shaping the present,” emphasizes Mr. Gupta who still considers himself youth at the age of 40.

Another aim of the conference was to address the generation gap “which is not from kids’ side, but from parents’ side,” says Ms. Mini Gupta.


More than 100 youth between the ages of 14 and 30 attended the youth conference. The organizers had invited a variety of motivational speakers from different backgrounds. Our chat with them is as follows:


Contribute to all aspects of Canadian life and society, including Canadian army – Professor Sandeep Agarwal, Ryerson University

Speaking about the strengths and weaknesses of South Asian youth, Dr. Agarwal says “South Asian youth are very talented very skillful.” A part of the reason [of youth’s success] is the first generation parents who have a lot of attachment with the countries of origin but who also emphasize education. “This country is ours now,”, he says. We’ll have to serve on different aspects of Canadian life and society, so there should be South Asians serving in Canadian army – “mind you, we have to defend this country.” There is very little volunteerism in South Asian community and it’s different from the traditional Canadian volunteerism. The Canadian volunteerism is about “broader goals and broader society whether it’s about environmentalism or something else. South Asians’ volunteerism is limited to our community and our place of worship.”


Young men should seek assistance if they’ve depression – Lenin Sivam

Speaking of controversial themes of his movies, Lenin Sivam, says “I do make movies [on subjects] that bother me.” It’s his way of venting out his frustration. Mr. Sivam has made movies on arranged marriages, issues with arranged marriage, stigma associated with male depression and so on. He says South Asian culture is such that it does not allow men to be very expressive or to cry as “it’s something girls do.” But young South Asian men should seek medical assistance if their performance levels are dropping and they are not able to concentrate on their work.


Keep Thinking of New Ways of Doing Things – Sandeep Goel, VP at ICICI bank

The realization that you’re not ready for university after high school or for work after university, can help you learn, says Mr. Goel.  “And there’re a lot of helping hands available to you.”In his presentation, Mr. Goel urged youth to never stop dreaming. To be successful, he advises “keep thinking of new ways.” The whole notion of work place has changed as bosses and subordinates can be miles away from where you are, he says. Also “expectations” of employers are very different from eomplyees. Nonetheless, he believes opportunities for youth to find work are endless.


Youth don’t have money but they don’t have obligations either – Kundan Joshi, VP of ICCC

Youth are in perfect stage of life to get head start in entrepreneurship. “They don’t have money, but youth don’t have any obligations either. They’ve more motivation and lesser commitments,” says Kundan Joshi,  VP of Indo Canada Chamber of Commerce. He concedes that “youth are not taken seriously enough.” Getting the banks to finance your goals is extremely hard. He feels that support that entrepreneurs get from Canada is great when compared to India or any other third world country.


Overcome FEAR – False Expectations Appearing Real – Venki Raman – Associate Vice President at CIBC

In response to a question that not enough South Asians get to policy making positions in corporate Canada, Mr. Venki Raman, an Associate VP at CIBC, says “we’ve a number of immigrants who are in executive positions and are leaders like me. We’ve senior people, senior than me who are presidents at CIBC.”

Mr. Raman is a motivational speaker who is also writing a book titled “Progress to Peak Performance.” In his presentation, Mr. Raman urged the youth to gain control of their lives and to stop procrastinating. He gave new meaning to FEAR – False Expectations Appearing Real and advised them to overcome this fear.

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Highlights of Pakistan Independence Day at Queens Park on August 14th

Posted on 18 August 2010 by .

Highlights of Pakistan Independence Day at Queens Park on August 14th

Pakistani-Consul-General Sahebzada Khan hositing falg at Queens Park on August 14th

MPP Dr.Shafiq Qaadri (Etobicoke North) with his kids

MP Yasmin Ratansi (Don Valley East)

Conservative Senator Salma Ataullahjan

Khalid Usman, candidate for Ward 6 of Markham Town Council

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Please do not leave your Motherland alone – Consul General Sahebzada Khan’s emotional address to CAPO audience

Posted on 18 August 2010 by .

At the occasion of Pakistan Independence Day, Canadian Association of Pakistani Origin (CAPO) organized a gala dinner attended by the known members of the community. On the occasion, Pakistani Consul General Mr. Sahebzada Khan noted the tragedy facing many Pakistanis with devastation caused by floods. CAPO has raised funds for flood victims of Pakistan in alliance with ISNA. The audience remained silent for two minutes for flood victims and those who had died in air plane crash in the mountains of Islamabad. At the event, Flemington Community Services’ Executive Director Margery Healy and IDRF’s Executive Director Ms. Mona also addressed the crowd.

MP Rob Oliphant in shalwar kameez with CAPO youth members

Ms.Nawal Atiq, President of CAPO

Ontario Minister Eric Hoskins with CAPO executive member

Pakistani Consul General with Mazhar Shafiq and others

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Pomp & Colour at Indian Heritage Festival

Posted on 18 August 2010 by .

On Sunday while clouds thundered and heavy drops of rain rushed down Mississauga, Hindu Federation along with the City of Mississauga held India Heritage Festival. The President of Hindu Federation Pandit Roopnauth Sharma thanked the guests for coming. He said it is important to educate Indian culture to those who are removed from culture or are not aware of great Indian heritage and religion. He congratulated MP Navdeep Bains (Mississauga Brampton South) for having a new baby daughter and joked when MPP Bob Delaney (Mississauga Streetsville) was announced on stage about his marriage to Hindu young lady from Guyana. Pandit Sharma introduced members from other mandirs of the GTA by inviting them on the stage. Ms. Rebecca Prasad,  Representative Hindu Heritage Centre, Harry Prashad, Representative Radha Krishna Mandir Cambridge, Lyn Maharaj, Representative Radha Krishna Mandir Cambridge, Nilesh Mehta, Representative  BAPS Shree Swaminarayan Mandir, Sher Motwani, President Gur Mandir, Teekah Ramnauth, President Datta Yoga Centre, Amarnath Binda,  President Devi Mandir, Vishnu Sookar, CEO Devi Mandir had been present at the event.

From L – R: Navdeep Bains Liberal MP Mississauga Brampton South, Rebecca Prasad Representative Hindu Heritage Centre, Harry Prashad Representative Radha Krishna Mandir Cambridge, Lyn Maharaj Representative Radha Krishna Mandir Cambridge, Nilesh Mehta Representative BAPS Shree Swaminarayan Mandir, Sher Motwani President Gur Mandir, Teekah Ramnauth President Datta Yoga Centre, Amarnath Binda President Devi Mandir, Vishnu Sookar CEO Devi Mandir, Bob Delaney Liberal MPP Mississauga Streetsville, Pandit Roopnauth Sharma President Hindu Federation & Mississauga Ram Mandir

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Celebrating 63rd Indian Independence Day

Posted on 18 August 2010 by .

More than 700 people gathered on Saturday morning to gather at Dundas Square to celebrate 63rd Indian Independence Day with pride and pomp. The day started off with melodious patriotic songs where one could see old moving with the beat. Panorama India, now in its 11th year, had organized a spectacular India Day event that featured a Parade boasting nearly a dozen floats representing various states of India. The cultural program opened with Patriotic Songs.  The parade which took over two hours to traverse the 2 km route was met with waving supporters throughout the route.  Float participants were enthusiastic and danced on the floats and on the street as they marched along.

Singing anthem after flag hositing

Mrs. Saran unveils Panorama India Magazine

MPP-Dr.Kathleen Wynne (Don Valley West), Minister Harinder Takhar and Minister Margarett Best

But of course, the highlight of the day was a short appearance of the famous Bollywood star Akshay Kumar, who is also Canada’s ambassador of tourism.

Just before the flag hoisting, ex-servicemen of Indian army were paid gratitude for their services to india.

After flag hoisting of tri-coloured Indian flag in the presence of Ontario Ministers Margaret Best, clad in embroided almond coloured shalwar kameez, Kathleen Wynne dressed in white kameez and pajama and Harinder Takhar, and MPs John McKay dressed in kurti and pants and MP Kristy Duncan who was wearing sky coloured pajama kameez, Indian Consul General in Toronto, Mrs. Preeti Saran, highlighted Commonwealth Games and the Year of India in Canada. Commonwealth games are to take place in New Delhi in October. Indian government has worked hard in building infrastructure that will accommodate its internationals guests and boast of diversity in Indian culture and traditions. Mrs. Preeti also spoke about the Year of India in Canada next year where throughout the year India’s cultures and traditions would be showcased for Canadians to see. She also thanked the Indian community to be “the shining example” of valuing the best of both cultures – Canada and India.

Farzana Bhol, Paonrama and Swar Sadhana Idol

Mr. Ajit Khanna, the Co-Chair of Panorama India, urged the members of Indo-Canadian community to be more proactive and to get involved in the parade for the coming year.

Minister Harinder Takhar said that Ontario is a stronger province because of Indo Canadians’ contributions. MPP Best touted her links to India, saying “My maternal grandmother was from India.” And MPP Kathleen Wynne complimented Panorama India saying that it make Panorama Canada much more beautiful.

Jake Dheer, Rogers Rogers Station Manager of Mississauga, in action

Conservative MP Bob Dechert (Mississauga – Erindale), whiling talking to Generation Next, said India is obviously a huge country but the beauty of India lies in its democratic values. He said that the values of Prime Minister Harper and the Conservative Party are relevant to Indo-Canadians who place high value to family, education and small and medium sized businesses. He also highlighted great and historic learning institutions of India. Talking about the role of youth, he said “Young people are people to embrace education, and the government has many policies to get higher education.”

Liberal MP Kristy Duncan (Etobicoke North) is excited by Commonwealth games and looking forward to visiting New Delhi in October. “People share the [Indian] poetry with me, it’s such an honour,” she said. With 5th diverse riding in Canada, she told Generation Next that “I get to travel the world in my riding.” “I’ve had a privilege to travel to India” to receive an award for her research in influenza, she told us.

More than 10,000 people saw the day’s festivities and enjoyed the variety of products at the stalls including tasty Indian snacks and meals.

Kala Pillarisetty, the Co-Chair of Panorama India, thanked the sponsors who supported Panorama, the performers, volunteers, and the media for their invaluable contribution towards the success of the event and the audience for attending the event.

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Honouring Ganesh during annual Festival

Posted on 28 July 2010 by .

Perched atop an ornate custom-built chariot, the elephant-headed Hindu God Ganesh slowly circled his way around the Sri Varasiththi Vinaayagar Temple in Scarborough Saturday morning at 3025 Kennedy Rd.

This year, as many as 20,000 people were estimated to have participated in the elaborate ceremony, which hosted a number of community leaders, prominent and distinguished citizens, and cultural groups in the Toronto area.

As the diety was pulled by two ropes at the annual Hindu Chariot Festival, thousand of devotees watched outside the temple.

The Chariot festival entering its 11th year is the most important of all annual festivities at Sri Varasiththi Vinaayagar and is a significant event for members of the Sri Lankan Tamil Hindu community within Canada.

The chariot ceremony offers a chance for Ganesh to venture outside of the temple to bless the community.

Devotees make offerings to the god and perform several rituals to show their respect. Some of these include rolling behind the chariot and piercing their skin with hooks to suspend themselves.

While Sri Varasiththi Vinaayagar Temple serves predominantly Sri Lankan and Indian Hindus living in the Scarborough area, all are welcome to attend the celebrations.


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Masala Filled Masti at Exhibition Place

Posted on 28 July 2010 by .

This weekend, Exhibition Place in Toronto was colored with decorations of Mehndi Masla Masti festival. From food vendors to concerts, singing competitions to artist performances, senior idols to Bacha party, every moment was fun filled. The aromas of South Asian spicy food and performances by few recognizable faces were worth the drive.

MMM Opening reception_Performers

Crowd at the Event

Bacha Party Performing Tabla

MMM Opening Reception_Boman Irani presented with Canadian government citation for his contribution to the arts by Senate Salma Ataullahjan

The concept behind this festival is to share the South Asian culture with non-south Asian friends. Pleasantly, we encountered many non-south Asian faces enjoying the music and shopping for South Asian crafts. Artists like Amaan and Ayan Ali Khan, Toronto tabla Ensemble, Salman Ahmed from Junoon, Suzzane D’Mello and Jorge Miguel pleased the crowd. Boman Irani, the famous mamoo from the film Munna Bhai M.B.B.S was also available to chitchat and interact with his fans.  Although, the rain on Saturday made it hard for the 120+ volunteers to remain steadfast on their posts but nonetheless the event marked its 10th anniversary with great success.

MMM Opening Reception_ Senate Salma Ataullahjan

MMM Opening Reception_Salman Ahmed

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