Toronto girl is Miss India-Canada, Lisa Ray honoured

Toronto: Nineteen-year-old Akhina Mooken has been crowned as Miss India-Canada 2011.

The Toronto-area girl defeated 15 contenders from across Canada to win the crown at the 21st annual Miss India-Canada Pageant.

Actress Lisa Ray, who was the guest of honour at this year’s event, was presented with the Special Achievement Award for her contribution to cinema. Toronto-born Ray, who has just recovered from a cancer of white blood cells, thanked the organizers for the award.

One of the major cultural events of the Indo-Canadian community across Canada, the annual beauty pageant draws a huge response as it features high-voltage musical performances, songs, catwalks and quizzing of the contestants.

Many of the past winners, including Kamal Sidhu, Ruby Bhatia and Gita Bali , went on to make a name for themselves in Bollywood, music and television.

During more than four hours which involves cocktails, dinner, dances and music, contestants were first put through three segments of the pageant – Indian Dress, Evening Gown, and Talent.

They were then shortlisted to five. After intervals of music and dance, the five finalists were put though the final question-and-answer session.

Nineteen-year-old Akhina Mooken, who was finally crowned Miss India-Canada, will have a free trip to India, apart from various awards.

Bestowing the crown on her, event organizer Sanjay Agnihotri said Mooken will work with various social organizations in Canada and India.

Started by the late Punjabi businessman Kush Agnihotri, the Miss India-Canada pageant is the biggest and oldest Indian beauty show in North America. (IANS)