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April is Sikh Heritage Month

April has officially been named Sikh Heritage Month in British Columbia.

Former Premier Christy Clark made the announcement on April 7, 7017 and declared that 15 South Asian sites–including Vancouver’s Punjabi Market–would be added to British Columbia’s Register of Historic Places.

Sikhs arrived in British Columbia over 100 years ago and early immigrants built a community around their faith. The Khalsa Diwan Society was established in 1906 and constructed the very first Gurdwara (Sikh temple) in 1908 at 1866 West 2 Avenue in Vancouver. The temple was also believed to be the first Gurdwara in all of North America.

April also marks the celebration of Vaisakhi, an event which honours the creation of the Khalsa in Sikhism. Vancouver and Surrey both host Vaisakhi parades, which are the biggest in North America.

Sikh Heritage Month aims to celebrate the contributions and aspirations of Sikh Canadians to develop a greater appreciation and understanding of a rich, unique, and diverse heritage. Sikh Heritage Month will also facilitate collective learning through intercultural and interfaith community participation.