Amidst freezing temperatures and a snow covered city, the Sri Lanka High Commission in Ottawa together with the Sri Lankan community and well-wishers celebrated the 65thAnniversary of the National Day on 10th February at the prestigious National Library & Archives Auditorium.
The official segment of the programme included the National reAnthems of Sri Lanka and Canada sung by children of the Sri Lankan Expatriate Community, hoisting of the national Flag, observing two minutes silence in honour of those who sacrificed their lives to preserve and protect the country, multi-faith religious observances and reading of the National Day Message of His Excellency the President in all three languages.
The Conservative Member of Parliament for Don Valley East Constituency, Hon. Joe Daniel addressed the audience to convey his greetings and urged the Sri Lankan expatriates living in Canada to invest and extend their support to their country of origin.
In her address High Commissioner Chitranganee Wagiswara referred to His Excellency President Rajapaksa’s message where he spoke of freedom in the true sense of the word that requires economic prosperity which should benefit all citizens in the country. She also spoke of the prevailing peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka which has to be built “one step at a time”. Referring to internal and external elements who try to derail the peace and progress in the country, she called upon the Sri Lankan expatriate community to join hands and to contribute to greater prosperity, peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka.
A significant aspect of this year’s celebration was to recognize Sri Lankan Canadians who have brought honour to their country of birth by being recipients of the Governor General’s Award or the Queen’s Jubilee Awards in recognition of their services and contribution to Canada. Dr. Sange de Silva, Dr. Nimal Ratnayake, Mr. Ganesan Sugumar, Mr. Upali Obeyesekere, Mr. Kula Sellathurai, Mr. Melwyn Machado, Ms Winifred Wijay and Mr. Piyasena Gamage were presented with awards by the High Commissioner.
A short Cultural Show was also staged by the children and artistes living in Ottawa. The evening ended with a reception hosted by the High Commission for nearly 400 participants.
A short Official Flag Hoisting and Religious Ceremony was held at the High Commissioner’s Residence on 4th February 2013, to mark the National Day. It was followed by multi-faith religious observances with the participation of the Members of the Staff and Office Bearers of the Sri Lankan Associations in Ottawa.Sri Lanka High Commission Ottawa 12th February 2013