Victory Day 70th Anniversary Celebration

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Toronto-May 9, 2015

RCC contributed to the celebration of the 70 years of victory over fascism in WWII held in Toronto.

Close to a thousand of Russian-speaking Torontonians joined the people in Russia this weekend to take part in the so-called ‘Immortal Regiment’ march, carrying photographs of their relatives in memory of those who took part in the Great Patriotic War (a term used in Russia and other former Soviet republics to describe hostilities on the eastern fronts of World War II in 1941-1945).

As the coordinator of the “Immortal Regiment” march in Toronto, RCC called on everyone who wants to pay tribute to their relatives perished during the years of the war, to take to the streets of North York in the heart of the Russian-speaking community in Toronto, in a symbolic action.

The black and orange St. George ribbons were a distinctive part of this march. Attached to cars, purses and clothes, they became part of the celebration and are symbolic. Like the poppies worn in Canada, the Georgian ribbons is worn by the Russians to commemorate Victory Day.

The Ribbon of St. George represents the commemoration of World War II, as well as being an important reminder of Russia’s heroic past. The ribbon is not only connected to Russia’s triumph in WWII, it also traces its origins way back to the times of Imperial Russia, when it was introduced as the highest military decoration instituted by Catherine the Great. Then there was a Guard’s ribbon in the Soviet Union that was given to the soldiers for their special merits and accomplishment. And finally, in 2005 the St. George ribbon became a permanent symbol of the remembrance events.

The festivities continued through out the day in Earl Bales Park. The organizing committee with Irina Gromova as the Chair, planned the event months in advance. The program included the Victory Parade of the veterans, the “Immortal Regiment” march in the park as well as the gala dinner for the veterans and their guests.

The veterans from the Canadian Association of World War II Veterans from the Soviet Union were the shining stars of the celebration. The military uniform replicas from 1943 worn by the veterans and the young members of the parade were the remarkable part of this anniversary celebration. The uniforms were especially tailored and shipped to the veterans by the Ministry of Defense of Russia for this occasion.

The park festivities were enhanced by the Russian Congress of Canada initiative to recreate a field kitchen. The RCC activists treated the public with porridge the way it was served to the soldiers on the battle field under complemented by the wartime music and singing.

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