Every April, millions of Sikhs around the world celebrate Vaisakhi Day, a day that marks both the New Year and the anniversary of one of Sikhism's most important events, the establishment of Khalsa in 1699 with the first Amrit ceremony.
Vancouverites have two Vaisakhi Parades to choose from: the Vancouver Vaisakhi Parade, which attracts about 50,000 spectators, and the annual Surrey Vaisakhi Parade and Celebration, which attracts 300,000 spectators, making it one of the largest Vaisakhi parades outside India.
Sikh Population in Vancouver
The Vancouver metro area has one of the largest Sikh populations outside of India itself. It rivals the Sikh population in Canada as the largest Sikh community in Canada.
In Surrey, most of the city's Asian population are Sikhs. The Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in Surrey is one of the biggest and oldest gurdwaras (Sikh temples) in North America. Vancouver's first gurdwara dates back to 1908.
Vancouver Vaisakhi Parade and Celebration
Vaisakhi Day falls on April 14 in 2018.
The parade starts at 11 am. at the Ross Street Temple (8000 Ross St at 64th), moves south on Ross Street to SE Marine Drive, then west to Main Street, north to 49th Avenue, east to Fraser Street, south to 57th Avenue, east to Ross Street and then returns to the Temple.
Getting to the Vaisakhi Parade: Don't try to park near the parade route. With so many people expected, the best way to get to the parade is by public transit.
Surrey Vaisakhi Parade and Celebration
The Surrey parade begins at the Gurdwara Dashmesh Darbar Temple, at 12885 85th Avenue in Surrey. Like the Vancouver Vaisakhi Parade, the best way to get to Surrey's Parade is by public transit.
In addition to the parade and procession, Nagar Kirtan hymns and floats, there will be free food (graciously prepared by local residents and businesses), live music and rides, and, at Surrey's festival, several politicians working the crowds.