The sudden passing away of Nirantha De
Silva has sent shockwaves among the large
Sri Lankan expatriate community in Canada.
His demise will not only be felt in Canada
and Sri Lanka, but also in Dubai and the
Sultanate of Oman where he lived before he
came into our lives.
He came from a relatively large family of
five — he had three sisters and one brother.
Nirantha leaves behind his beloved wife Dawn
and two loving sons, Hillary and Delano and
many nephews and nieces in Canada, Sri Lanka
It’s hard to write about a friend who has
just died, but we must pay tribute to
Nirantha, who left us on February 5. We must
honour a man who was a beloved husband,
loving, father, brother, uncle and dear
friend to all of us. A quote from Saint
Thomas Aquinas — "There is nothing on this
Earth more to be prized than true
friendship" — I think would be appropriate.
Nirantha had his education at St.
Joseph’s College and later at Royal College
Colombo. On leaving school, he joined Car
Mart Limited in the late ’60s. Around this
time, the ‘Middle East fever’ had just begun
and Nirantha left for the United Arab
Emirates (UAE) where he spent many happy
years with his wife and two children. He
emigrated from the United Arab Emirates (UAE)
to Canada in 1994, with his family.
Nirantha was a born entrepreneur who was
very creative and original. He was a
trailblazer and had tremendous courage to
succeed. Invariably whatever he touched
turned to gold. He was a shrewd businessman
who had a knack for spotting business
He was also very focused on the mission
at hand and worked vigorously with a
commitment to excellence. In the Middle East
he rose to be the general manager of a
leading trading and property development
company in Oman and Dubai. He also inspired
the large expatriate Sri Lankan community in
many ways by promoting Sri Lankan
entertainment and did very well organising
musical shows in the Middle East.
He became a household name among the Sri
Lankans in the Middle East and also helped
many Sri Lankan artistes and entertainers
find their feet on foreign soil. With this
background, the De Silva family of four
arrived in Canada in the mid ’90s.
Living in Mississauga, Nirantha
successfully started a freight forwarding
business in Scarborough under the name and
style of Trico International Forwarding
(Canada) Ltd. He single handedly built this
business into what it is today.
Through hard work, diligence, and sheer
commitment Trico became a household word not
only in the province of Ontario, but in all
of Canada. In little over a decade, Nirantha
steered Trico to greatness and thereby
provided yeoman service to the Sri Lankan
expatriate community in Canada, like no
other. In doing so, Nirantha De Silva became
a household name in Canada.
During the 2004 tsunami that devastated
the Asian region, Nirantha and Trico were at
the forefront, assisting the shipment of
much needed medical supplies, drugs and food
stuff. He liaised with the two Buddhist
temples in Scarborough and Mississauga and
other organisations and shipped many
containers without any charge. By his
humanitarian and compassionate actions, he
earned the respect of the community.
His business acumen was exemplified when
he diversified into other areas of business.
With yours truly, he renewed his love for
music promotion and together we conducted
many musical productions in Toronto with the
evergreen Gypsies, Desmond de Silva, Ronnie
Leitch, Corrinne Almeida, A.E. Manoharan,
Annesley Malawana, Dalrene, Indrani Perera
and the likes.
He was very gracious to the artistes and
ensured that they were well cared for and
happy. He made sure that the audience was
not kept waiting and always worked hard to
start the shows ‘on time’ — his motto in
Over and above all this was his cheerful
personality. Nirantha had a smile on his
face even when he was doing business. He did
not seem to be stressed at any time facing
challenges of varying magnitudes. He was
bathed in charisma and his charming
personality will be sorely missed.
Nirantha possessed many amazing traits
and qualities that were rare. He wanted all
his friends to be happy. He was an exciting
person to go on a trip with. This writer had
the pleasure of going to Sri Lanka in 2005,
and twice to Ottawa with him in a group and
memories of these trips will be retained by
us for the rest of our lives.
He inspired people and as a result he was
involved in many social, cultural and
business organisations. One such
organisation was the Canada-Sri Lanka
Business Council of which he was the vice
president since 2005.
He was also chair of the 2005 and 2006
President’s Award Gala Committee and
executed two superb events that were graced
by the premier of Ontario, and many other
federal and provincial parliamentarians. He
was also on the board of directors of the
Josephian-Peterite Alumni Association
(Canada) for a few years in the ’90s.
Nirantha was laid to rest on Saturday,
February 9 amidst a large gathering of
friends in the community at the Assumption
Cemetery in Mississauga, Ontario (Canada).
We shall always remember his cherubic
face and super qualities. We must accept
that ‘life is impermanent but death is
permanent.’ In doing so, we accept
Nirantha’s death but his memory will live on
forever in our hearts and minds.
A Dear Friend