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Canada: Falun Dafa Welcomed at St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Toronto and Vancouver (Photos)

March 20, 2014 |   By Zhang Yun and Zhang Ran, Minghui correspondents in Canada

(Minghui.org) Falun Dafa practitioners participated in the annual St. Patrick's Day parades in Toronto and Vancouver on March 16, 2014. On the same day in Eastern and Western Canada, practitioners joined the celebration with their Divine Land Marching Band, waist drum troupes and beautifully decorated floats.

For the eighth year, Falun Dafa’s Divine Land Marching Band performed in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Toronto on March 16, 2014.

Practitioners' waist drum troupe in Toronto's 2014 St. Patrick's Day parade.

This was the eighth consecutive year that the Toronto parade organizers have invited Falun Gong practitioners. Their Divine Land Marching Band and waist drum troupe have been well-received.

At the annual St Patrick’s Day parade in downtown Vancouver, revelers packed along both sides of streets. Practitioners joined with their local waist drum troupe and beautiful lotus flower float.

Falun Dafa practitioners participated in the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Vancouver on March 16, 2014.

Mayor and Media in Toronto Impressed by the Falun Gong Entry

Deputy Mayor of Toronto Norm Kelly said that the Divine Land Marching Band's music was always so wonderful.

Deputy Mayor of Toronto Norm Kelly is of Irish descent. Kelly hopes that more communities will join the parade to make it more diverse. He praised the music performed by the Divine Land Marching Band, “It's always so wonderful.”

A 2012 picture of the Divine Land Marching Band in the annual St. Patrick's Day parade was published on the CityNews Toronto web site.

Chinese Delighted to See Falun Gong Spread in the World

Mr. Rong from Foshan City, Guangdong Province gave Falun Gong practitioners a thumbs up and said, “This is the best procession in the parade, the most glorious and worth watching. Very impressive!”

Mr. Zhong, another Cantonese, joined the conversation: “In China, they [Falun Dafa practitioners] are persecuted. We have been in Toronto for three months. Lucky for us, we saw this parade. We are so proud of them, see, the westerners are so glad to see them and welcome them. We are witnessing the momentum of Falun Gong outside of China.”

Spectator from Hong Kong: “I Have Decided to Practice Falun Gong”

Mr. Wei from Hong Kong took pictures of the Falun Dafa entry while his wife was clapping. Mr. Wei said, “We like it a lot! We are very happy to see them.”

Mr. Wei’s wife said with tears in her eyes: “My aunt in China practices Falun Dafa. The authorities persecuted her severely, but she remained steadfast. She was eventually taken to a mental hospital, and the torture continued. I am very excited to see such a beautiful Falun Gong procession. I have decided to practice Falun Gong upon returning home.”

“They Are Like Spring's Messengers”

Wounse (left) said that he supported Falun Gong and would look for more information online.

Wounse, an Irish descent, exclaimed: “On this special day, members of the [Falun Gong] group are like spring's messengers. They bring energy and hope.”

When he learned that Falun Gong is being persecuted in China, he said, “That shouldn’t have happened to such a good group of people. We are so lucky to see them in Canada. I will search for more information online. I support them.”

Bill (first front left) and his family come to watch the parade.

Bill, a Toronto resident, enjoyed seeing the Falun Gong entry: “I have seen them several times. They always bring inspirations. I am grateful that such a great group is here.”

Noreen (first right) says, “(The Falun Gong practitioners) bring wonderfulness to the world. I support and thank them.”

Noreen is from Ireland and has lived in Canada for 23 years. She danced with the music of the Divine Land Marching Band. She said, “On this special day, [Falun Gong] practitioners are like St. Patrick, who feared no violence and held on to the truth. The practitioners have strong will and true belief in their faith. This is how they have survived the persecution. I want to thank them for bringing beauty to the world.”

Ayaka (second from left) watched the parade with her classmates.

Korean student Ayaka watched the parade with her classmates. They cheered and applauded the Falun Gong procession. “This is the first time we have seen such a grand Chinese team. We are excited and feeling lucky. Thanks for such majestic music. Good luck to them.”

Takako is a student from Japan. She said, “This band’s music brings me unspeakable joy. I major in music. I know it’s not easy to perform well on a cold day like today. I heard Falun Gong practitioners don't have freedom of belief in China. I am happy for them to see that they are free to practice here in Canada.”

Chinese in Vancouver: Falun Dafa is Good

One woman, upon seeing the Falun Dafa float in Vancouver, called out, “There comes Truth-Compassion-Forbearance,” “See how pretty the lotus flowers are!” She read out loud “Falun Dafa is good” from the banners and told her daughter to remember that.