COVID-19 restrictions force cancellation of Vaisakhi Khalsa parade in Surrey, B.C.

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SURREY, B.C. — The COVID-19 pandemic has forced cancellation of what organizers say is the world's largest Vaisakhi Khalsa Day parade in Surrey, B.C.

A statement from the Gurdwara Sahib Dasmesh Darba, which organizes the annual event, says the parade on April 24 has been cancelled to comply with provincial health guidelines on gatherings.

Vaisakhi marks the creation of the Khalsa in 1699, the most significant day in the Sikh calendar.

Festivities continue all day and organizers say they routinely attract more than 500,000 spectators along the Surrey parade route.

The 2020 parade was also cancelled as the first wave of the pandemic hit B.C.

Event spokesman Moninder Singh says small family groups will celebrate individually this year and they hope to enjoy the traditional parade again in 2022.

“It is clear that there is no path for an event the size and magnitude of our parade to occur safely within the next three months," Singh says in the statement released Tuesday announcing the cancellation.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 16, 2021.

The Canadian Press