SOME SIGNIFICANT MOMENTS IN SIKH-CANADIAN HISTORY
Sikh Lancers and Infantry regiment visited Vancouver after
celebrating Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in London, England.
Arrival of some Sikhs in Vancouver and Victoria are from Hong Kong.
The arrival of the first wave of Sikh immigrants. The census listed 258 Sikhs.
Siri guru Granth Sahib Ji was first brought to Canada by Bhai Arjan Singh.
The scriptures were located at a house in Port Moody.
For the next three years, 5000 Sikhs came to Canada.
A house was rented in Vancouver to start a Gurdwara. A resolution was
adopted on July 22 to start the establishment of Khalsa Diwan Society.
Sikhs were denied the right to vote when the government of B.C. passed
a bill to disenfranchise all natives of India not born of Anglo-Saxon parents.
Foundation stone of the Gurdwara for Khalsa Diwan Society
was laid at 1866 West Second Avenue, Vancouver.
A contingent of 901 Sikhs arrived on the Canadian Pacific steamer
Monteagle in Vancouver on September 12, 1907. Race riots were
held in Vancouver in which the Orientals and the Sikhs were targeted.
On July 8, order-in-Council designed to stop all immigration from India
with the “continuous journey” clause and “possession of $200″ was passed.
January 19, the first Sikh parade (Nagar Kirtan) took palce to celebrate
the opening of the Gurdwara on Second Avenue in Vancouver.
The first Granthi was Bahai Balwant Singh.
Scheme to deport all the Sikhs from Canada to British Hondurans (Belize).
Arrival of Sant (Professor) Teja Singh in Vancouver on October 17.
First Amrit ceremony in Canada took place in Vancouver.
On February 13, the congregation at the Girdwara rejected
the British Honduras proposal.
Establishment of Guru Nanak Mining and Trust company,
and plans to buy 440 acres of land in West Vancouver.
Khalsa Diwan Society was registered on March 13.
The census for that year listed 2,342 Sikhs, less than half of that in 1908.
Only three were women.
Gurdwaras were built in Vitoria, Fraser Mills, and Abbotsford.
Hardial Singh Atwal was the first Sikh born in Canada on August 28.
Establishment of the Ghadar Party was in North America.
The “Ghadar” newspaper was published the same year.
April 4, the Komagata Maru (Guru Nanak Jahaz) departed Hong Kong
for Vancouver to challenge the “continuous journey” clause.
May 23, arrival of the Komagata Maru with 376 Passengers, mostly
Sikhs, under the leadership of Bhai Gurdit Singh in Vancouver.
July 23, the Komagata Maru was escorted out of Vancouver
under the guard of the Canadian Navy.
Bhai Mewa Singh shot William Hopkinson at the Vancouver Courthouse
on October 21, to stop the injustices done to the Sikh community.
Bhai Mewa Singh was hanged on January 11 in New Westminster.
He was given a ceremonial Canadian Sikhs Martyr.
Khalsa Diwan Society was incorporated under the B.C. Societies Act
on February 23.
Sikh population in British Colombia dropped to as low as 700.
Mayo Lumber Company built a Sikh temple near Duncan, B.C. at Paldi.
This town was named after the village in India.
Immigration restriction on bring wives and children
under eighteen years old from India were lifted.
Sikh women and children started arriving from India.
On July 13, the Sikh community sent a Jatha (a group of 10 Sikh martyrs)
to protest the interference of Gurdwara management by the
British Government in India.
Khalsa Diwan Society had autonomous branches at Vancouver, Abbotsford,
New Westminster, Golden, Duncan, Coombs, and Ocean Falls.
January 2, the Sikh community sent a Jatha (a group of 39 Sikh martyrs)
for the Jaito Morcha.
Khalsa Diwan Society invited Charles Andrew, a friend of Mahatma Gandhi,
and Sir Rabindranath Tagore, Nobel laureate, to see first hand the unfair
treatment of the Sikhs.
Vancouver Sikhs formed the India Grass Hockey Club.
Annual sports in memory of Babar Akali Martyrs were organized.
September 7, the opening of the Hillcrest Sikh temple
(4 miles from Duncan). A parade was held to celebrate the opening.
Organized labour helped the Sikh with the ” fair pay to the Sikh” campaign.
Survey of the Sikh in Canada showed that there were 1,756;
98% of them lived in British Columbia.
Sikhs were granted franchise to vote and become Canadian citizens.
Prime Minister Nehru visited the Vancouver Sikh temple
with his daughter Indira Grandhi.
East Indian Canadian Welfare Association was formed.
Narajan Singh Grewal was the first Sikh elected to a city council in Mission, B.C.
There were 2,148 Sikhs in Canada.
Akail Singh Sikh temple was formed after the conflict of religious practices.
Quotas from India increased to 300 per year.
Quota system was dropped in favour of non-discriminatory immigration law.
First Gurdwara in the province of Ontario.
New immigration regulation based on point system was introduced.
March 30,foundation stone for the Khalsa Diwan Society Gurdwara
at 8000 Ross Street was laid.
Khalsa Diwan Society celebrated the quincentenary birthday of Guru Nanak
Dev Ji at its new Gurdwara at 8000 Ross Street on November 23.
April 25, Khalsa Diwan Society offically opened its new Gurdwara at
8000 Ross Street, following a Nagar Kirtan from 1866 Second Avenue.
Commencement of Ladies Sat-Sang and Saturday evening
Kirtan Diwan at Khalsa Diwan Society.
Punjabi classes started at the Gurdwara at 8000 Ross Street in July.
Punjabi classes started in the evening at David Thompson Secondary
School in September.
Celebration of centenary of the Singh Sabha Movement,
with tour of Sikh dignitaries around B.C.
The tradition to entre a Sikh temple with a head covering (which had
been neglected for a few years) was received by a special resolution.
“Sikh Samachar” a newspaper, was published by the B.C. Sikh societies.
Commemoration of the Tercentenary of Siri Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji.
First Ragi Jatha (Bhai Bakhshish Singh Ji) that came from
Shiromni Gurdwara Parbanhak Committee (S.G.P.C.)
The executive committee of the Khalsa Diwan Society,
Vancouver was elected for the first time by a ballot voting system.
The 500th birthday of Guru Amar Das Ji. Since that year,
an annual Vaisakhi Parade (Nagar Kirtan) is held in Vancouver.
October 2, Khalsa Diwan Society purchased an adjoining building
named “Guru Amar Das Niwas”. This building has a school,
daycare, museum, Gurdwara and guestrooms.
Federation of Sikh Societies of Canada was the first Sikh
organization registered nationally.
January 6, broadcast started of the Sikh religious program
Khalsa Diwan Society purchased 28 acres in Richmond, B.C.
to build a sports complex.
Two Jathas from Canada went to India to participate in the
“Dharam Yudh Morcha”
Honourable Wally Oppal was appointed a Supreme Court judge.
He later conducted the Royal Inquiry to Policing in British Columbia.
A Sikh Chair was established at the University of British of Columbia.
A Sikh Chair was established at the University of Toronto.
June 3, Operation Bluestar military attack on the Golden Temple
(Siri Darbar Sahib), in Amritsar, India occurred.
Thousands of innocent Sikhs were killed.
A protest denouncing the Golden Temple massacre was attended
by 15,000 Sikhs in downtown Vancouver near the Indian High
Commission office on June 10.
Metro Toronto Police permitted Sikhs to wear their turbans
while on duty with the force.
Khalsa School, a full time private school was established in Vancouver.
This school teaches Sikh religion and Punjabi language classes.
Khalsa Credit Union was registered on February 19, to provide
financial service to the Sikh Community. Today there are five
branches with assets of over a hundred million dollars.
First Sikh elected to any provincial legislature in Canada was
Manmohan (Moe) Sahota from Esquimalt, British Colombia.
A steamer named Amelie with 174 refugees,
mostly Sikhs landed in Nova Scotia.
Protest by 3,000 Sikhs against Human Rights violation during
Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Grandhi’s visit at the Commonwealth
Prime Minister’s Conference in Vancouver on October 12.
February 25, Canadian Prime Minister Joe Clark asked premiers
to boycott activities of three Sikh organizations.
March 10, the Canadian Parliament devoted a whole day to
debate the issue of the Sikh’s rights and the issue of Khalistan.
Dr. Gulzar Singh Cheema was elected as an M.L.A. to
the Manitoba legislature.
July 23 marked the 75th anniversary of the Komagala Maru Incident.
Sikh societies across Canada commemorated this reprehensible incident.
A plaque commemorating the Komagata Maru Incident was placed at
Portal Park in Vancouver on May 23 jointly by the municipal, provincial,
and federal Governments.
March 15, the solicitor General of Canada announced that the RCMP
dress code would be amended to have a turbaned Sikh join the force.
Constable Baltej Singh Dhillon had the honour of becoming the first
baptized Sikh to join the RCMP.
Three Sikhs were elected to the British Columbia legislature.
Manmohan (Moe) Sihota, and Ujjal Dosanjh have held various
cabinet posts, and the other M.L.A. is Harbhajan (Harry) Lalli.
Khalsa school opened its facility with a Gurwara in Surrey, B.C.
Formation of the Ontario Gurdwara Management Board.
Gurbax Singh Mahli and Harbans (Herb) Dhaliwal were the
first Sikhs elected to the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa.
In July, Vancouver Punjabi Market at Main and 49th Street was
officially recognized with bilingual signs in English and Punjabi.
A 24 hour radio program featuring Sikh religion and Gurbani Kirtan
started to transmit from Vancouver. It broadcasts across Canada
and America VIA satellite.
Five Sikh veterans were invited to participate in a Remembrance Day
parade on November 11, but were denied entry to the
Royal Canadian Legion in Newton, B.C.
Akhand Path and Vaisakhi Day celebrations were held at the
Parliament Buildings in Ottawa.
The foundation stone for the Sikh Resource Centre was laid by
the Akal Tahat Jathedar on July 24. Senior Centre for the Sikhs
was opened on November 29, in Surrey, B.C.
The B.C. Government officially recognized the Vaisakhi Parade
and published a brochure.
February 15, the Supreme Court of Canada reaffirmed a
Sikh officers right to wear a turban.
In September, British Columbia schools started to offer Punjabi
language in its regular curriculum from grades five to twelve.
There were over a hundred Gurdwaras across Canada.
Fifty of them were in B.C.
Opening of the Sikh Resource Centre in Vancouver to celebrate
the centennial of the Sikhs in Canada on July 28.
January 11 was the sad day when the sanctity of Guru Nanak
Sikh Temple in Surrey was desecrated with the intervention of the
dispute over the serving of Guru Ka Langar (community kitchen).