This past weekend one of Toronto’s most vibrant events, the Festival of India, was forced from its traditional venue on picturesque Centre Island by the ongoing city workers’ strike. Unable to transport as many as forty thousand people across to the island, organizers relocated the festival to a car park at the foot of Yonge Street on the lakefront. The hard asphalt ground, pock marked with cracks and repairs, and the sometimes sickly sweet smell of the nearby Redpath sugar factory, both did nothing to diminish the enthusiasm of attendees.
The festival’s colourful and lavishly decorated forty-foot-high chariots—each carrying one of three Hindu deities—were pulled from Bloor Street down Yonge Street to the lakefront by hundreds of devotees. On arrival, the deities were carefully removed while the decorations were pulled down and distributed to the crowd; receiving the decorations is considered to bring good luck and favour.
All photos by Miles Storey/Torontoist.