Russian Victory Day in Toronto. Is it becoming a Canadian tradition? Estonian Life (5)
May 9th, Victory Day, as it is known in Russia, is becoming a community event in Toronto spread over several days. In fact the Toronto Victory Day celebrations were already launched on April 23 with a spring auto and motor rally named ”I remember! I’m proud”.
It was the third time, organized by the Association of World War II veterans from the USSR, activists from various Russian groups and the Russian Congress of Canada, the principal organizer for several events. Starting from Earl Bales Park in Toronto it went through Mississauga, Oakville and Burlington arriving at its final destination of the Canadian Warplane Hertitage Museum in Hamilton – a perfectly Canadian destination indeed. The cars were decorated with Victory Day (also communist) symbols and Canadian flags. But dominating the decorations were Soviet flags and symbols, as they have been in the past.
Some of the other events planned for this year, that the Russian Congress is either organizing or promoting are the May 6th parade through downtown Toronto ending with a rally in Nathan Philolips Square, the May 7th ”Immortal Regiment” parade and celebration ending in Earl Bales Park with a rock concert, the May 8th Second World War V-E day (Victory in Europe) sponsored by the City of Toronto, supported by City of Toronto Councillor James Pasternak and promoted by the Russian Congress, the May 9th Gala Evening and concert for the Russian community.
The ”Immortal Regiment” celebrations have spread internationally with Russian expats marching in Prague, Jerusalem, New York, Toronto, Brisbane and elsewhere.
In Moscow, the May 9th celebrations are unabashedly meant for ratcheting up the patriotic fervour within the public. The event in Red Square is staged to extol the importance of a powerful military. Honouring the millions of dead soldiers in WWII is of secondary importance. (Pikemalt Eesti Elu 5. mai paberlehest.)