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Thousands expected downtown Toronto for Khalsa Day celebrations

Thousands of people are expected to descend downtown Toronto Sunday for one of the city’s largest annual events.

Vaisakhi, also known as Khalsa Day, marks the Sikh New Year and the establishment of the Sikh community in 1699, according to the Ontario Sikhs and Gurdwaras Council (OSGC).

For years, the organization has been putting together an annual parade along Lake Shore Boulevard, which according to the council, is the third-largest in the country and is known to attract thousands of participants each year. 

The day kicks off from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the CNE Better Living Centre, with the parade starting at 1 p.m. and traveling east to Nathan Phillip Square by 3:30 p.m.The event is expected to last until 6 p.m. 

Attendees can expect free food, Sikh prayers, players on traditional instruments and festival goers donned in saffron-coloured clothing.

Toronto police have either fully or partially closed a number of streets for the event, including Bay Street from Hagerman Street to Queen Street W., University Avenue from Dundas Street W. to Queen Street W. and Albert Street at Bay Street. A full breakdown of the parade route can be found on the Toronto police website

Politicians in all levels of government are expected to attend, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau leader of the Conservative Party of Canada Pierre Poilievre and leader of the federal NDP Jagmeet Singh.

Mayor Olivia Chow, along with Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown and Caledon Mayor Annette Groves, are also set to appear. Premier Doug Ford or a representative of his, along with Ontario NDP leader Marit Stiles and Liberal leader Bonnie Crombie, are also expected to attend. 

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