First-ever Diwali celebration at Niagara Falls

Based on inputs by Shahid Kazi

Niagara Falls will host Diwali, the Festival of Lights for the first time ever this year.

The first-ever Diwali celebration at this global tourist attraction is being organised by the non-profit Indo-Canadian Arts Council (ICAC), with the support from the Niagara Parks Commission.

ICAC’s director and founder Ajaay Modi believes this would be a spectacular event, given the scenic backdrop. He said, “We wanted to have a landmark destination for Diwali to be observed in Canada and we wanted an iconic location.” He also said that ICAC has been working with local authorities over the past couple of years to make the objective a reality.

The celebration will be held on October 14 even though Diwali falls on November 7 this year. The reason being that the weather in November will not be suitable for a grand outdoor event of this nature. Modi said: “That’s one drawback of being in Canada, it gets very cold!”

The celebration will immediately follow the signature Diwali Razzmatazz programme from October 12 to 13 in Mississauga. The event has been drawing nearly 50,000 people in the five years since its launch.

ICAC was responsible for the iconic falls being lit in the colours of the Indian tricolour on Independence Day this year. He expects the Diwali celebration to be viewed by a large number of people, not just visitors to the Canadian side, but those across the border in the US, as the waterfall lies between the Canadian province of Ontario and the American state of New York.

Mr Modi is hopeful that as the Niagara Falls are just a drive of over two hours from Toronto and close to the Greater Toronto Region (GTA), the numbers attracted by the inaugural celebration will be large.

The event will commence with a cultural programme in the afternoon before the fireworks display in the evening.

This venue plays host to other celebrations with fireworks displays, such as Canada Day and Thanksgiving.