By Perry Lefko

Holi Gala – The Festival of Colours – in support of the William Osler Health System Foundation is more than just a charity event for an important cause. It’s a Hindu celebration of the change from winter to spring and good prevailing over evil.

The festival has raised almost $1 million since it began in 2014. The goal for the fifth annual edition of the event, April 7 at the Pearson Convention Centre in Brampton, is to raise $450,000. Net proceeds go to supporting ongoing equipment and development needs at the Osler’s three hospitals – Brampton Civic, Peel Memorial Centre for Integrated Health and Wellness and Etobicoke General.

According to Alineh Haidery, Osler’s public relations manager, the three hospitals need the support of the community through events such as Holi Gala because 100 per cent of the equipment within a hospital is funded by the community and 10 percent of the new development projects, such as the new patient tower at Etobicoke General.

“Eighty percent of the health care you will need in your lifetime will be provided by your local community hospital,” Haidery said. “Whether it’s for a surgery or emergency care of to help manage a chronic disease, community hospitals are critical in keeping Canadians healthy.”

Holi began in India but is celebrated around the world for two consecutive days. The second day of the festival features people showering others with colours mixed with water.

Holi Gala features entertainment and this year’s event is headlined by Punjabi singing sensation, Malkit Singh, who has been hailed the King of Bhangara. His trademark anthem Tutak Tutak Toothiyan is the best-selling Bhangara song of all time and earned him a platinum record for his album Up Front. He has entertained millions all over the world.

In addition to entertainment, the event includes food, a silent auction, dancing and an abundance of colour. The evening begins with a reception featuring hors d’oeuvres, wine, mingling and the silent auction. That is followed by a family-style South Asian dinner and dance entertainment from Shiamak Davar Dance Toronto. Prizes include Toronto Raptors court-side tickets, signed Raptors jerseys, artwork, dinners and jewelry.

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Photo courtesy of William Osler Health System