Richmond’s Doors Open Program Welcomes Thousands to Explore Cultural Heritage and Civic Pride

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The City of Richmond is also known as the Child of the Fraser. Its Steveston Village and Highway to Heaven (aka #5 Road) are some of the most popular places to visit. Since 2008, the Richmond Museum Society with support from the City runs a popular Doors Open Program.

It involves opening this community’s doors to the public on a weekend in June. So far, more than 250,000 visitors have participated in the Open Doors Program. This annual event highlights this city’s heritage and important civic services.

Of particular interest to visitors is the small stretch of #5 Road, popularly known as the Highway to Heaven. A few kilometers of this road have close to 25 places of worship of different denominations. Most of them opened doors to the public on the June weekend. This year again, more than 40 diverse organizations, local businesses, cultural sites and places of worship welcomed visitors on June 8 and 9.

At India Cultural Centre of Canada Gurdwara Nanak Niwas, 8600 #5 Road, Richmond, we had many visitors who were welcomed by our young hosts also known as goodwill ambassadors.  Most of these youth were students. They were supported and guided by several dedicated adults. These young people did an amazing job in welcoming the visitors from very diverse communities. After a very warm welcome they would explain to them the main highlights of Sikhism, the role of our Gurdwara in serving the community and show them around. Not only that, but they would also answer any questions the visitors had about Sikhism, Punjabi/South Asian community or the Gurdwara.

As part of this program, the Gurdwara management had planned to offer refreshments and langar to the visitors. Most of them enjoyed the delicious langar in the Langar Hall. Some of these visitors had visited our Gurdwara for the first time. They were very impressed with the generosity of the Sikhs. All of them appreciated learning more about the youngest and the fifth largest religion of the world -Sikhism.

They were amazed to learn that Guru Nanak Dev ji, our first Guru and founder of Sikhism spent almost 28 years travelling around the globe more than 500 years ago conveying his message of universal brotherhood, equality, making an honest living, generosity and belief in God Almighty. Before leaving the Gurdwara premises each one of these visitors expressed their sincere thanks and appreciation to the Gurdwara Management for opening its doors to the public at large.

On behalf of the India Cultural Centre of Canada Gurdwara Nanak Niwas Management Committee, I am very thankful to our young guides and their mentors. They include Arjun Singh Bains, Saiya Kaur Sanghera, Sharon Kaur Athwal, Rhea Kaur Bains, Jasleen Kaur Bains, Ranveer Singh Gill, Lovereet Kaur, Gurseerut Kaur, Gurnadar Kaur, Jasmeet Kaur and many others. Also, I would like to thank their adult mentors including Rajinder Singh Grewal, Jaswant Kaur Johal, Manjit Singh Sekhon and many others. All of them have made our Doors Open experience to be very enjoyable

(Balwant Sanghera is Secretary, India Cultural centre of Canada Gurdwara Nanak Niwas

8600 #5 Road, Richmond, BC)