Gurdwara Nanak Niwas Celebrates Canada’s 150th Anniversary


India Cultural Centre of Canada Gurdwara Nanak Niwas ,8600 #5 Road, Richmond celebrated Canada’s 150 th Birth Anniversary with a great deal of enthusiasm on July16,2017. A large number of people-young and old from very diverse communities and from different places in Metro Vancouver- joined us in this very special event. People started arriving at the Gurdwara early in the morning. By 10:30 AM this spacious place of worship was overflowing with people from all walks of life.  The function started with a prayer by our Head Granthi  Tarlochan Singh with assistance from Giani Rangeel Singh and Giani Shyam Singh in the beautiful park just outside the main entrance. The prayer was followed by singing of Canada’s National Anthem led by Simran. She was accompanied by a number of children. The huge congregation then moved inside the lobby for cake cutting. India Cultural Centre of Canada Gurdwara Nanak Niwas Chairman Asa Singh Johal, Mrs. Kashmir Kaur Johal and President Sohan Singh Bas were joined by members of the Executive Committee and invited guests to cut the Canada 150 Birthday Cake. From the lobby, the attendees moved upstairs to the Diwan Hall for the formal part of the program.

General Secretary Mohan Singh Sandhu welcomed the congregation on behalf of Chairman Asa Singh Johal, Kashmir Kaur Johal, President Sohan Singh Basi and the Executive. He then invited me to introduce the invited guests. After a brief introduction of Canadian Confederation, it was my honour to invite the speakers -one at a time- to share their views with the congregation. The speakers included Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie, Canada’s Minister of National Defence, Harjit Singh Sajjan, Richmond -Steveston M.P. Joe Peschisolido, Richmond –Queeensborough MLA Jas Johal, Richmond Centre- North MLA Teresa Wat,Surrey-Newton MLA Harry Bains and Richmond Police Chief Will Ng. All of the speakers spoke very highly of Canada. They stated that this is a matter of great pride that we live in a country that is not only multicultural, inclusive and welcoming but also very generous and compassionate. On such occasions, Canadians of  diverse backgrounds come to-gether to celebrate these values. They expressed sincere appreciationfor this Gurdwara’s service to the community and the unifying role that this place of worship on Richmond’s Highway to Heaven has been playing.

As part of this celebration, a bright four page brochure containing a brief history of Canada was made available to the attendees. Vancity‘s Praveen Sidhu and her team did an excellent job in handing out goodies, doing face painting and a number of other activities. It made the celebration for children and youth very enjoyable.   The volunteers –both children/youth and adults – were kept busy helping people around. As some of the people had never been to a Sikh place of worship before, they appreciated the orientation and help by the volunteers.

While planning this celebration the organizers had a number of objectives in mind. These included creating more awareness about Canada, engage the youth in this process and reach out to not only the South Asian community but alsoto the community at-large. The presence of a large number of people from diverse backgrounds, active role played by the youth and very positive feedback by attendees was a clear reflection of this celebration’s success. On behalf of the Gurdwara Management Committee I would like to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to everyone who contributed to the success of a very fitting tribute to Canada. Finally, I would like to thank the Indo-Canadian media –both electronic and print –for its continued support.

Balwant Sanghera is a Spokesperson with India Cultural Centre of Canada Gurdwara Nanak Niwas , Richmond,BC.