Vancouver Celebrates Vaisakhi Parade

Vancouver:  Khalsa Diwan Society, Vancouver celebrated Vaisakhi festival on Saturday, April 15.  Thousands of people lined on the parade route to see and be part of the celebration.  The Vaisakhi festival went from 9 am to 5 pm with hundreds of people offering free food and gifts.

The Vancouver parade started from the KDS Ross Sikh Temple at 8000 Ross Street in Vancouver at 11 am at the Ross Sikh Temple and proceeded down Marine Drive, up Main, along 49th Avenue, south at Fraser, east along 57th Avenue and then down Ross Street back to the temple.

Musician Tara Kye was the first white woman to ride with the Sikh Motorcycle Club in a Vaisakhi parade.CHARLIE SMITH

City councillor Raymond Louie says he supports NDP candidate and former councillor George Chow in Vancouver-Fraserview.
CHARLIE SMITH
There was no shortage of B.C. New Democrats at the parade, including leader John Horgan (third from left).
CHARLIE SMITH
New Democrat candidates David Eby (left) and George Heyman (right) joined MP Don Davies (second from left) and community leader Amarjit Toor for a photo.
CHARLIE SMITH
Chief Adam Palmer, Balbir Sidhu, and Deputy Chief Steve Rai were among tens of thousands in the Vaisakhi parade.
CHARLIE SMITH
It wasn’t just Indian food that was available for free along Southeast Marine Drive.
CHARLIE SMITH

The Khalsa Diwan Society is a pioneer Sikh society formed on July 22nd, 1902 in Canada, America; it was formally established in 1906. In 1908, the Society purchased and built the first Sikh Gurdwara at 1866 West 2nd Avenue, Vancouver British Colombia (BC) in Canada. The Gurdwara was inaugurated on January 19th, 1908. This is believed to the first Sikh Gurdwara in the whole of the American continent. This Gurdwara Sahib served the Greater Vancouver Sikh community until new Gurdwara Sahib was occupied on April 25th, 1970.

Trudeau to formally apologize for 1914 Komagata Maru tragedy

OTTAWA—Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will offer a full apology in the House of Commons next month for a decision by the government in 1914 to turn away a ship carrying hundreds of South Asian immigrants.

The apology for the Komagata Maru incident will be delivered on May 18, nearly 102 years after the ship from Hong Kong arrived off Vancouver only to have almost all of its 376 passengers — nearly all Sikhs — denied entry due to the immigration laws at the time.

The ship was eventually sent to Kolkata and least 19 people were killed in an ensuing skirmish with British soldiers, while others were jailed.

“We failed them utterly,” Trudeau told a packed room Monday on Parliament Hill at a celebration marking the Sikh holiday of Vaisakhi.

“As a nation we should never forget the prejudice suffered by the Sikh community at the hands of the Canadian government of the day. We should not, we will not.”

Former prime minister Stephen Harper apologized for the incident in 2008 at an event in British Columbia, but members of Canada’s Sikh community have long said an apology should be offered formally in Parliament.

The Komagata Maru in Vancouver's English Bay in May 1914. Stephen Harper apologized for the tragedy at an event in 2008, but Canada's Sikh community wanted to see it recognized officially in Parliament.

FILE PHOTO

The Komagata Maru in Vancouver’s English Bay in May 1914. Stephen Harper apologized for the tragedy at an event in 2008, but Canada’s Sikh community wanted to see it recognized officially in Parliament.

The Liberals have been calling since 2008 for an apology in the Commons and Trudeau repeated that pledge during the election campaign.

Trudeau said Monday while an apology will not ease the pain and suffering of those who lived through the experience, it is the right thing to do and the House of Commons the right place for it to be delivered.

“It was in the House of Commons that the law that prevented the passengers from disembarking were first passed and so it is fitting that the government should apologize there on behalf of all Canadians.”

There are 17 Sikh members of Parliament, including Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan.

Prior to being elected, Sajjan was the commanding officer of the B.C. military regiment Duke of Connaught’s Own, which over a century ago had been involved in the government’s efforts to turn back the ship.