A Blue and White Independence Day in Toronto

 Ms. Idit Shamir the Consul General of Israel in Toronto and Western Canada (photo credit:  Pavlotski Productions )
Ms. Idit Shamir the Consul General of Israel in Toronto and Western Canada
(photo credit: Pavlotski Productions )

The official Israel Independence Day reception, hosted by the Israeli Consulate in Toronto and Western Canada, was held in early May. More than 350 guests attended the event, including three mayors, a deputy minister from Manitoba, leaders from the Christian and Muslim Jewish communities, members of the provincial parliament, members of the Toronto and Vaughan city councils, business leaders, academics and others. The consulate event is the culminating event of the Israeli Independence Day celebrations in Toronto. The consulate showcased the Passerby Project which brings together musicians from different backgrounds and cultures to create music that celebrates diversity and coexistence. 

The event opened with an Israeli reception and continued with a performance by artist Gilad Segev, Israeli singer-songwriter, musician, author, and travel documentarian.

 Gilad Segev (credit:  Pavlotski Productions )
Gilad Segev (credit: Pavlotski Productions )

Segev hosted a church choir from the Canadian Christian College, a singer from the First Nations community in Canada, Elder Allison Cox of the Red Robe Women Drum Group and collaborated with other artists in Arabic, French, Spanish and Chinese. The Israeli anthem “Hatikvah” was sung by Maya Gamzu, an Israeli girl who reached the finals of the “Canada’s Got Talent” competition.

Canadian Minister Michael Kerzner spoke on behalf of the Province of Ontario and presented the Consul General with a congratulatory letter to the State of Israel signed by Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario.

Consul General Idit Shamir expressed her gratitude for the collaboration and the artists who made the celebration remarkable by saying, "We were honoured to showcase the extraordinary talents of these performers. Their music brought people together from diverse backgrounds and cultures, promoting unity and celebrating the beauty of coexistence.” We are proud to have friends, partners and allies across Canada and to have celebrated Israel's independence with all of them.

  (credit:  Pavlotski Productions )
(credit: Pavlotski Productions )

On Independence Day, Israeli flag raisings were held in Toronto and Western Canada with the initiative of the Consulate and with the assistance of local partners. The Israeli Consulate in Toronto participated in a flag raising at Toronto City Hall in the presence of the incumbent mayor and local community leaders, a flag raising in the Parliament of Ontario in the presence of 20 MPs from across the political spectrum, and a flag raising at Vaughan City Hall in the presence of the mayor. Israeli flags were also raised in Calgary, Edmonton, Hamilton and Regina.

Several recognized municipalities and institutions were illuminated in blue and white in honor of Israel Independence Day, including Vaughan City Hall, Hamilton City, High Level Bridge in Edmonton, Esplanade Riel Footbridge in Winnipeg, the Winnipeg City Sign, Burrard Street Bridge in Vancouver and Niagara Falls, all of which were illuminated at the request of the Consulate.

The Consulate of Israel also assisted in bringing Mayumana, the Israeli dance troupe that combines dance, song and percussion, for five performances in Toronto. The group also joined in performances by Shalva and singer Danny Robas.

In cooperation with Israel Bonds and JNF Canada, musician Gilad Segev also appeared at the Independence Day reception in Ottawa, attended by Ambassador Ronen Hoffman and Minister Karina Gould, minister of families, children and social development in Canada.

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