Tamil Fest, one of Toronto’s largest street festivals, broke the 200,000 mark for attendance, and was congratulated for it by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau himself.
“I’m happy to report that my Kothu Roti is getting better,” Trudeau told crowds on Scarborough’s Markham Road on August 26, referring to one of many Tamil dishes prepared at the event.
Trudeau visited a lifeboat in which Tamil refugees arrived off Newfoundland 31 years ago, at the start of Sri Lanka’s lengthy and devastating civil war.
Though the war between separatist Tamils and the island’s Sinhalese majority ended in 2009, the appearance of more ships of asylum-seekers on Canada’s shores that year and in 2010 show “long-term peace has yet to be reached” in Sri Lanka, he said.
Trudeau reaffirmed Canada’s call for “a process of accountability that will have the trust and confidence of the victims of the war in Sri Lanka.”
Other Canadian politicians paid tribute during the two-day festival to the Tamil-Canadian community’s achievements, including Toronto Mayor John Tory and Scarborough-Rouge Park MP Gary Anandasangaree, whose motion to recognize January as Tamil Heritage Month passed the House of Commons unanimously this year.
Tamil Fest had hundreds of performers and merchants on the road, south of Passmore Avenue.