In the bustling city of Toronto, a community of Malayalis thrived, leaving a lasting mark wherever they ventured. One such endeavor that garnered international recognition was the Brampton Boat Race, held annually in Canada. This remarkable event, which took root in August 2009, brought a sense of awe to Canadian Malayalees and aimed to recreate the glory of the renowned Nehru Trophy boat race held in Kuttanad, Kerala.
The Brampton Boat Race was initiated by the Brampton Malayalee Samajam, a cultural organization founded in the early 2000s by young Malayalis. Their goal was to unite the Malayali community in Brampton and create a platform for cultural exchange. Led by Mr. Kurian Prakanam, a visionary and former member of the Loka Kerala Sabha, the Brampton Boat Race quickly gained momentum and became one of the biggest expatriate events for Malayalis worldwide.
The Nehru Trophy boat race, known for its snake-shaped chundan vallam boats, is a popular sporting event held in the picturesque backwaters of Alappuzha, Kerala. These majestic boats, capable of accommodating up to 100 rowers, move in perfect synchronization to achieve speed and accuracy. Traditionally held during the festive season of Onam, the Nehru Trophy boat race is a significant cultural event for Keralites.
Over the years, the Brampton Boat Race has grown in scale and prominence, capturing the attention of both Indian and Canadian communities. It has become a symbol of unity and brotherhood, transcending differences and bringing people together in the spirit of sportsmanship. The event has garnered high-profile recognition, with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau commending the organizers for their vibrant festival, and Indian External Affairs Minister K Muraleedharan recognizing it as a global representation of Kerala’s rich culture.
The organizing committee of the Brampton Boat Race boasts prominent political figures, including Mayor Patrick Brown, federal minister Kamal Khera, Ruby Sahota MP, President of the Treasury Board of Ontario Prabmeet Sarkaria MPP, Amarjot Sandhu MPP. Their involvement speaks to the significance and support this event has garnered from various levels of government.
Moreover, Padma Shri Dr. MA Yusuff Ali, Chairman of Lulu Mall, flagged off the promotional inauguration event in the presence of Kurian Prakkanam, the president of Brampton Samajam. This added an extra touch of grandeur and excitement to the race.
Another noteworthy highlight is the warm greeting extended by the esteemed members of the Travancore Royal family, including Highness Princess Aswathy Thirunal Gowri Lakshmi Bayi, and Prince Avittom Thirunal Aditya Varma of the Travancore Royal family at Kowdiar Royal Palace, Thiruvananthapuram, expressing their support and best wishes for the Brampton Boat Race 2023. Also provided greetings from Major Ravi, director in the Malayalam movie industry.
In a delightful surprise, the esteemed presence of distinguished members is anticipated at this year’s Brampton Boat Race. Their participation further amplifies the cultural significance and grandeur of the event, adding to the excitement and anticipation among the participants and spectators.
Notably, the Brampton Boat Race is not limited to the Malayali community alone. Participants from the Canadian and American communities also join in, fostering a sense of fraternity and cultural exchange. Beyond its sporting significance, the event serves as a platform to showcase the cultural richness of Kerala and indirectly contribute to the development of tourism in the state.
The upcoming edition of the Brampton Boat Race is set to take place at Professors Lake in Brampton on August 19, 2023. This year promises to be a grand celebration of cultural heritage and tradition, with the added presence of esteemed personalities. As the quote goes, “It is in the roots, not the branches, that a tree’s greatest strength lies.” Let us come together, celebrate our shared roots, and create a replica of Kerala in the heart of Canada.
To participate in this extraordinary cultural festival, interested individuals must register on the Brampton Boat Race website. For further details and information, please visit the website or reach out via email. Let us immerse ourselves in the essence of Kerala and experience the magic of the Brampton Boat Race—a cherished piece of the Venice of the East in the Land of Maple Syrup, Canada.
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