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B.C. To Recognize South Asian Canadian Heritage Through Places Of Historic Significance

SURREY – British Columbians are invited to nominate places of historic significance to South Asian Canadians for recognition.

Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services Amrik Virk made the announcement Friday with representatives from the Royal BC Museum, and Centre for Indo Canadian Studies at the University of the Fraser Valley.

South Asian Canadians have ancestral connections to India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan, the Maldives and Sri Lanka.

“South Asian historic places that are nominated will encompass a wide range of cultures which include communities with heritage connected to roots in India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan, The Maldives and Sri Lanka,” Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services Amrik Virk.

“Punjabi Canadians have contributed to making B.C. the wonderful province it is today.  We are thankful that the government has recognized South Asians as a significant fabric of the Canadian society and the importance of including our history in B.C.  This is a wonderful opportunity for the community to recognize historical places of significance from the South Asian perspective,” said Dr. Balbur Gurm, Chair of the advisory committee and evaluation team for the South Asian Canadian Historic Places Project.

“This announcement is another step in recognizing the cultural diversity and history of British Columbians and their contribution to the social and cultural development of the province,” said Minister Responsible for Multiculturalism Teresa Wat –

“Being a partner in this project, of identifying places of historic significance for South Asian communities, is just the latest way the Royal BC Museum is helping preserve, explore and share our province’s multicultural heritage,” said Royal BC Museum, chief operating officer and deputy CEO, Angela Williams.

Nominated historic places will be evaluated by a team that includes community and academic expertise.  Historic places of the highest significance will be considered for official recognition by the Government of British Columbia and if recognized, will be placed on the BC Register of Historic Places and the Canadian Register of Historic Places: www.historicplaces.ca

Final decisions will be made in early 2017.

As part of nomination phase, a heritage values workshop is scheduled for Sept. 27, 2016, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Strawberry Hill Library in Surrey. Workshop participants will be asked to share knowledge, stories and what they value about historic places associated with the South Asian Canadian community and Canadians of South Asian ancestry in B.C. More information on this workshop is available online at: http://www.heritagebc.ca

In January, the Province formally recognized 21 historic places of significance to Chinese Canadians. Nominations for historic places of significance to Japanese Canadians are being accepted until Nov. 20, 2016.

Nominations can be made and more information can be made online at: http://www.heritagebc.ca

Nominations will be open until Nov. 6, 2016.

Quick Facts:

* One-quarter of people in B.C. are self-identified visible minorities, and 7.2% identify as South Asian Canadians.

* B.C. is the most ethnically diverse province in Canada and welcomes nearly 40,000 new immigrants as permanent residents every year.

* The BC Register of Historic Places lists more than 3,400 historic places that have been formally recognized or protected by the province or a local government.

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