Festival Offers Sights and Sounds of South Asia

July 5, 2012 Updated: October 1, 2015
A traditional Bhangra dance from Punjab Province in India. (Gibbia)

TORONTO—Over 200,000 Torontonians are expected at this year’s TD Festival of South Asia, a celebration of South Asian culture with memorable entertainment.

The sights, smells, and sounds of South Asia will fill Gerrard India Bazaar from Saturday July 7 to Sunday July 8 from noon to 11 p.m., with over 100 shops and restaurants to explore.

The festival is a great way to experience a new culture or remember a homeland left behind.

Gerrard India Bazaar is the largest North American marketplace representing South Asian goods and services. It lies between Greenwood and Coxwell Avenue, an area that, just like Chinatown, Greek Town, and Little Italy, represents an ethnicity and lifestyle.

Subbu Chintaluri, the manager of the Gerrard India Bazaar for the last 12 years, says the festival is a one-of-a-kind event “for the entire family to enjoy.”

He explains that South Asian culture is very diverse with multiple subcultures—Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan, and more.

On July 7th, Toronto’s “South Asia’s Got Talent,” (a take on the original reality show “Britain’s Got Talent”), has an “entertainment line-up [that] promises to be a showstopper,” according to the festival’s website.

This is the show’s second year, dedicated to revealing youthful Torontonian talents in singing, dancing, acting, magic, and other delights.

The talent competition will have a panel of three judges: Veronica Chail, host of OMNI Television’s “Bollywood Blvd,” performer and choreographer Chase Constantino, and Roveena G, a contemporary vocalist and pianist.

Visitors can enjoy the tastes of South Asia for anywhere from $1-$6, with 20 restaurants within the Gerrard India Bazaar offering food.

The festival began in 2003 as Taste of South Asia, and was held on one day only. It was a hit, said Chintaluri, and despite heavy rain people came in droves.

After its first year in 2003, the festival was extended to a two-day weekend event, and held in July instead of May to avoid uncertain spring weather.

“This is one of the most colourful, beautiful festivals in the city of Toronto,” said Chintaluri.
A traditional Bhangra dance from Punjab Province in India.

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