Toronto: In a unique inter-faith gesture by the Indo-Canadian community, the Canadian Museum of Hindu Civilization (CMOHC) here has raised a memorial to fallen Canadian peace-keeping soldiers to commemorate their sacrifices around the world.
The grand Maple Leaf Memorial, built with granite imported from India, sits on the premises of the Hindu Temple in Richmond Hill city on the outskirts of Toronto.
The gleaming red-colored structure atop 12-foot granite column was unveiled at the week-end amid military ceremonies as an army band from 'Buglers from Queen's Own Regiment' played the bugle and soldiers from the country's 32nd Battalion saluted their fallen comrades.
A large number of Canadian Armed Forces personnel dressed in their ceremonial attire and top leaders joined the Indo-Canadian community in paying tributes to the peace-keepers.
Lauding the Indo-Canadian community for raising the memorial, Canadian Defence Minister Peter MacKay said it would carry the Canadian legacy of peace-keeping forward to the younger generation.
Indo-Canadian entrepreneur Ajit Somershwar, who is the spirit behind the memorial, said it was a small tribute by the Indo-Canadian community to the sacrifices of the Canadian Armed Forces in their peacekeeping role.
'We salute our heroes. I have always held the view that the immigrants behave in the pattern of concentric circles. The first circle consists of new immigrants, who have their body in Canada, but their feet and mind back home,'' he said.
'After a few years when they are firmly rooted with jobs, businesses, education, and friends, they move into the second circle with their feet in Canada but mind still back home. The third circle comprises of immigrants who are well-entrenched with their body, feet and mind in Canada. This is when the community becomes integral part of Canada. We can proudly say that we are in the third-circle now.'
Among those who attended the ceremony were Canadian finance minister Jim Flaherty, Canadian opposition leader Michael Ignatieff, Toronto Police Board chief Alok Mukherjee, local mayor, and MPs.