Vaisakhi parade 2017: What's happening in Vancouver and Surrey

Thousands march in a Vaisakhi parade in Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday Apr. 16, 2016.

Thousands march in a Vaisakhi parade in Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday Apr. 16, 2016. (Darryl Dyck/CP)


Annual Vaisakhi festivities are back in Metro Vancouver!

Vaisakhi marks the birth of the Sikh faith, the creation of the Khalsa and pays tribute to the beginning of the Punjabi harvest. It's one of the most significant dates in the year for Sikhs.

Parades and festivities with elaborate floats, fresh food and live music usually draw thousands of spectators.

Here's what you need to know about this year's celebrations.

Vaisakhi parade

A woman prays at the Khalsa Diwan Society Sikh Temple before a Vaisakhi parade in Vancouver in 2016. (Darryl Dyck/CP)

Vancouver: April 15

Vancouver's annual parade takes place Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. PT.

It takes off from the Ross Street Temple in South Vancouver and circles back to the same spot.

The city's event is one of the largest in the world, typically attracting thousands of people. 

Dozens of local residents and businesses line the parade route to hand out free food and drinks, honouring the harvest aspect of the celebration.

"People have been cooking for days," said organizer Malkiat Dhami.

For the first time, the South Asian LGBTQ support group Sher Vancouver will march in the Vancouver parade.

"It's explicitly written in our teachings that we're not to discriminate based on race, colour, creed, gender or socioeconomic status," said Khalsa Diwan Society outreach coordinator Pall Beesla.

"Sexual orientation is just an extension of that logic." 

Read more about the event plan.

Surrey: April 22

The Surrey parade is scheduled for April 22.

It will begin at Gurdwara Sahib Dasmesh Darbar — located on 85th Avenue — around 9 a.m. PT and end in the same place around 6 p.m. 

The City of Surrey said there will be road closures, traffic disruptions as well as restricted access and parking. Traffic control will be in place from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Last year's festivities broke a record in Surrey, attracting more than 350,000 people — making it one of the largest celebrations outside of India.

See the full parade route below:

Vaisakhi Day Parade surrey 2017

The parade route is marked in red, while the area affected by road closures is in yellow. (City of Surrey)

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