“I remember, I am proud!” is the motto of the charitable rally, one of many upcoming events dedicated to the WWII Victory Day in Canada that started from Toronto’s Earl Bales Park on April 23, 2016. On this day, the Russian community of Greater Toronto Area celebrated the anniversary of the Elbe Day, the day when Soviet and American troops met at the Elbe River, in Germany, on April 25th , marking an important step toward the end of World War II in Europe. Toronto events are organized by the Toronto Victory Day Committee and the Canadian Association of World War II Veterans from the Soviet Union.
It was an amazing day, a bit chilly but sunny in Toronto. The high spirits and warm emotions of the rally’s participants provided the heat that the spring sunshine may have lacked. Perhaps, this atmosphere resembled that day in April 1945, when the Russian and American soldiers met on the Elbe.
The rally was a gathering of people who cherish the history of our victory and the memory of it; a gathering of those who came together to honor the memory of their fathers and grandfathers. Motorcycles led the caravan toward the Canadian Forces Base in Borden followed by more than 100 cars decorated with flags and other ornate trappings. At the military base, the auto rally participants were warmly greeted by Russian-speaking Canadian officers, Captain Alexander Salov and Master Corporal Arkady Dobryakine, and their colleagues who gave a wonderful tour of the War Museum (which will mark a 100 year anniversary this year). Following the tour, the ceremony commenced with a speech by Commander White, followed by the solemn laying of flowers and minute of silence for the fallen soldiers who gave us a chance for life and freedom. We also had an opportunity to personally thank the few veterans who took part in the rally.
Victory Day celebrations continue on May 8th with the “Immortal Regiment”, which takes place in the heart of the “Russian district” at the intersection of Steeles Avenue & Bathurst Street. A formal celebration will follow in Earl Bales Park.
The next day, May 9th, at 12.30PM, please join the V-E Day memorial at Nathan Phillips Square, organized by the city councillor James Pasternak.
The wonderful photo-report was produced by the Toronto based photographer Elena Pencheva.