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B.C. party leaders step out for annual Sikh parade

B.C. Liberal Leader Christy Clark, centre, attends the annual Vaisakhi Parade in Surrey, B.C., on April 20, 2013.

Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press

Tens of thousands of participants gathered in Surrey for the annual Vaisakhi Parade – the largest of such celebrations outside of India.

By late afternoon Saturday, police were suggesting that attendance for the event marking the birth of the Sikh religion would equal last year when up to 200,000 spectators were on hand.

RCMP said the celebrations were incident free and as quiet as was possible with so many people on the streets for the celebration, which has been held over the last dozen years.

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"The biggest thing today are misplaced parents," said Staff Sergeant Murray Hedderson of the Surrey detachment of the RCMP, referring to parents misplacing their children.

Such incidents have been routine in the past with 60 children briefly missing last year before being reunited with their parents, RCMP laid out a number of suggestions for parents, including agreed-upon meeting places and taking cellphone photos of their children so they had images to offer police.

The day's celebrations include a parade as well as dancers and live music on various stages as well as abundant booths.

Provincial politicians were on hand for the event with B.C. Liberal Leader Christy Clark, NDP Leader Adrian Dix and John Cummins of the B.C. Conservatives on hand to meet participants. Federal NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair toured the parade route with Mr. Dix.

The Surrey event is one of two such major celebrations in the Lower Mainland this month. Earlier in April, there was a smaller Vaisakhi event in Vancouver.

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About the Author
B.C. reporter

Ian Bailey is a Vancouver-based reporter for The Globe and Mail.  He covers politics and general news. Prior to arriving at The Globe and Mail, he reported from Toronto and St. John’s for The Canadian Press.  He has also covered British Columbia for CP, The National Post and The Province. More

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