The 4th Annual Multicultural Azaadi Festival on August 17th at the Milton Velodrome was another successful community event. Over 10,000 people attended the all day event including families from across the GTA that packed the arena and surrounding areas for the family-friendly festivities.
The free event began with a multicultural parade where guests were given patriotic flags while marching around the facility. The community sang along to both the Canadian and Pakistani national anthems followed by the joint flag-raising ceremony and cake cutting with the feature performer, international musical artist Abrar Ul Haq. The event also raised money for the Sahara Trust Foundation, which is currently sponsoring a cancer hospital in a remote area in Kashmir, Pakistan. Abrar raised $84,000 and the Malik family from Chicago, Illinois donated $25,000.
Distinguished guests included: Parm Gill, MPP (Milton); Kaleed Rasheed, MPP (Mississauga East – Cooksville); Lisa Raitt, MP (Milton); Iqra Khalid, MP (Mississauga – Erin Mills); Salma Zahid, MP (Scarborough – Centre); Councillor Rick DiLorenzo (acting mayor – Milton); Councillor Kristina Tesser Derksen (on behalf of Regional Chair Gary Carr); Parm Gill, MPP (Milton); Councillor Sameera Ali (local councillor for the area) and Regional Councillor Mike Cluett. Milton teen, Ali Azim shared MC duties with Sadia Malik an excited fan of the featured artist who travelled from Chicago, Illinois for this event.
Throughout the day a variety of activities, children’s rides, food vendors and entertainment was provided for all ages. The exuberant crowd was treated to traditional performances with authentic cultural attire. The packed arena frequently rose to their feet to sing and dance to familiar melodies.
“Every year I feel honoured to be a part of this family-friendly event that enables the community to celebrate our freedom and diversity,” said Dr. Rabiya Azim, Chairperson for Ali Health & Education Foundation. “It’s great to see the momentum building within the community for the fourth consecutive year.”
“This was a unique opportunity for us to not only participate in a fun-filled event, but we also showcased Milton’s diversity,” Azim Rizvee said. “As a business owner and resident of this great town, I am proud that Milton is standing above the crowd by celebrating the strength in our differences.”
Abrar Ul Haq spoke about his charitable endeavours in helping bring hospitals to remote areas. He was quick to reflect that the credit for the first large-scale hospital his Sahara for Life Trust established in Pakistan goes to everyone in the world that contributed to make it possible. “That hospital by itself is a reflection of the unity of the world. Reflection of the love towards humanity, that is what we are longing for, that is what we are dreaming for, a beautiful world, a peaceful world” Abrar Ul Haq said.
Abrar Ul Haq concluded the event with a live concert until midnight with his signature performance. The 4th Annual Multicultural Azaadi Festival was organized by the Ali Health & Education Foundation and sponsored by MinMaxx Realty.