Paul Dhaliwal Sr., a living legend, passed away over a week ago at the age of 100.
He was a wonderful person with so many amazing stories that were so valuable for all of us to hear. I enjoyed many conversations with him about how our pioneers lived many decades ago.
One thing that always stood out to me was he often spoke about the love that people had for one another and how they would help each other, and not just about the hardships and racism.
Dhaliwal first arrived in Canada from Chananwal, Punjab in 1932.
He initially worked in lumber camps in B.C. In 1942, he established Mission Fuel Ltd., his own business to deliver sawdust, and later hauled lumber and logs. On his initial journey to Canada at the age of 18 and in the steps of his father, Dhaliwal studied wrestling at the Gamma School of Wrestling in Hong Kong and while managing his business, he continued to participate in amateur wrestling until 1945, when a promoter invited him to the professional arena.
Dhaliwal was the recipient of the Order of Abbotsford in 2009, named the Citizen of the Year, recognized by the National Historic Gur Sikh Temple and the Khalsa Diwan Society.
He also gave me lots of insight into the life of legendary Mission mayor Naranjan Grewall and spoke about their friendships and how they regularly played cards. Later, a group of them went to Seattle to investigate the mystery around Grewall’s death in 1957. Last time I met with Dhaliwal was a year ago, wearing his fedora hat at the Mission Sikh Temple, where he would go each day and speak on a documentary that was being recorded on the South Asian community of Mission. My father and him were lifetime friends and always held him in high regards. There is much to learn about our pioneers and the many sacrifices they made to make our community what it is today. We can all take a page or two from our local history books and we should share them more often.
Our friendly giant is sadly gone, but will be always be remembered with greatness.
The Abbotsford News in partnership with Cycling4Diversity Foundation will be again offering an essay and a colouring contest to students. Over the course, of the next few months, members from the Cycling4Diversity team will be cycling to schools and handing out the contest entries with the deadline ending on April 30.
The question we are asking middle school students is: In 30 days, how you would impact cultural diversity in Abbotsford/Mission, and explain the significance of multiculturalism in the community to you and your family?
A question that is action-oriented, and hopefully, there are a few fabulous ideas we can implement.
The colouring contest is for students ages 5-10 and its always nice to see the creativity and artwork. The deadline for the Abbotsford News Diversity Challenge is April 30 and forms can be picked up at The News and should be emailed to email@example.com or dropped off at The News on Gladys Avenue.
I am very excited to again be part of this contest and if you are a school or someone who wants to participate and would like more information, contact me at the email below.