Should the City Run a Diwali Festival in Brampton?


With one of the largest South Asian communities in the Indo-Canadian diaspora, there's no doubt that Diwali is an important celebration throughout Brampton.

Known as the "festival of lights", in Brampton there are a number of events to mark Diwali. In 2018 there was the 17th Trillium Diwali Gala, the KC Diwali Dhamaka, the 5th Annual Diwali Celebration, Diwali at Brampton YMCA and the Diwali Gala.

This year, Diwali takes place during the month of October. 

As the Indo-Canadian community is a very prominent presence in Canada's ninth largest city, the city also has certain specific bylaws when it comes to lighting Diwali fireworks. Since the city has rules on Diwali, some may wonder if Brampton shouldn't just host one themselves?

That's the suggestion posed by Brampton resident Sylvia Roberts, who tweets under the moniker as Brampton's recorder, to city council during this week's meeting. Roberts asked if city staff can investigate whether a municipally operated Diwali fireworks event possible as a means to bring people closer together.

Roberts also said another advantage with the city running a Diwali celebration would be better handling of the clean up operations afterwards. Councillor Gurpreet Dhillon added that, from his experience, Diwali celebrations can resemble 'a war zone' at times. The event could also become a major tourist attraction across the GTA, with accompanying markets to add a business / commerce element to the celebrations.

"The city could engage with business owners and enhance exposure for the South Asian community," Roberts continued.

Councillor Martin Medeiros was concerned if the city jumps in it would be too much like a 'top down' approach being imposed on community, and wanted to hear from someone in (the Sikh or Hindu) community on how they felt. Roberts replied saying she talked to locals and business people and they said they had been trying to get city involved for years.

"Previous councils have said why should they be pandering to a segment of the population, but it's "only 200,000 people". My idea is that it's not so much as religious but a secular event with commercial markets (as I said earlier) with fireworks."

Mayor Patrick Brown, as a politician who frequently attends various festivals held by a number of communities, said he liked the potential tourism aspect of a city run Diwali festival and said it could be unique for Brampton to market to a wider audience.

Do you think the city should host a citywide Diwali festival in Brampton?

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