(Minghui.org) June 20-23, 2013 marked the 20th Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival in Canada, the largest festival of its kind in North America. Since its inception in 1993, each year the festival has attracted about 5,500 water paddlers and over 70,000 spectators.

Falun Dafa practitioners took part in the festival, to introduce the practice and to tell people about the ongoing persecution in China. On the beautiful shores of Mooney's Bay, a group of practitioners demonstrated the five Dafa exercises, accompanied by melodious music. They formed a contrast to the hustle and bustle of the crowds around them. Many people came over to watch the demonstration, attracted by the practitioners' calm and relaxed energy.

Spreading Hope and Truth

Ms. Xiao, a Canadian practitioner, said that people came over to the Dafa information booth, asking for fliers and brochures. Some passersby expressed a desire to learn Falun Gong.

A woman from Montreal showed a keen interest in Falun Gong, saying that she has been looking for a cultivation practice that benefits both mind and body. After securing the contact information of the Montreal practitioners, she said that she would call them when she returns to Montreal and start learning the Dafa exercises.

Mr. Blair's family of five is also from Montreal. When the youngest boy saw the Dafa information booth, he stopped and didn't want to leave. After the practitioners shared some general information about Falun Gong with the family, Mr. Blair and his wife asked for the Montreal practitioners' contact details. They said they would definitely look into the practice when they returned home.

Ashley Gaskell, an addictions councilor who works with adults living with HIV-AIDS, said that she has been looking for a spiritual discipline that would help calm her mind, enable her to be a good person, and teach her not to take life so seriously. After hearing about the benefits of Falun Gong, Ashley, who is also a member of Amnesty International in Ottawa, said that she felt like this is what she was searching for. “That's why I came over to the information table [to learn about Falun Gong],” she said.

Ms. Gaskell was impressed by the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. “I really like that,” she enthused. “Actually, it's the 'Tolerance' part that I really like. I think our society really needs more of that,” she added.

“I've read the book Zhuan Falun!”

Maurice Manger, a former retail manager, said that he had learned about the practice a few years ago and had even read Falun Gong's main book, Zhuan Falun. He was pleasantly surprised to meet up with the practitioners at the Dragon Boat Festival.

He told a reporter that he thought the principle of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is “indisputable.”

Speaking of the persecution, he said that it is beyond his imagination why the Chinese regime persecutes its own people, including Falun Gong practitioners.

“They take issue with anyone who goes against their warped point of view,” he noted. “And the fact that Falun Gong is being persecuted for the peace, harmony, and tolerance that it brings to peoples' lives, is absurd!”

Mr. Manger believed that people haven't done enough to stop the persecution.“They don't realize the severity of the problem,” he said. “Especially the live organ harvesting. That's just disgusting, disgraceful! Something has to be done.”

Chinese People Renounce the CCP

Mr. Zhu, who was visiting Canada from China, told a practitioner that he had read the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party, adding, “It's well written.”

“The Communist Party has slaughtered so many Chinese,” Mr. Zhu explained, “Yet, it still tries to deceive young people into thinking it is somehow glorious .”

When Mr. Zhu was young, he had joined the Young Pioneers and the Communist Youth League, two Chinese Communist Party (CCP) affiliated organizations. After he learned about the importance of quitting the Chinese regime, he decided to renounce his membership right then and there. Before leaving, Mr. Zhu took some informational brochures with him to read back home.

More than 10 Chinese people withdrew from the Party during the three-day event.