Saturday afternoon marked an historical event for Sikh Canadians, with the Sikh Heritage Museum opening at the Gur Sikh Gurdwara in Abbotsford on South Fraser Way.
Lieutenant Governor Mr. Steven Point was there to launch the celebration with a ribbon-cutting. Later the temple was baptized with a prayer by attendees.
Downstairs, pictures of Sikh pioneer families who have lived in the Abbotsford area were displayed.
The building is fitting for the role as the community’s museum, considering it was established in 1911.
To mark the centennial of the temple, commemorative functions have taken place every month since last January to recognize the contribution of those early settlers and how they added to the development not only to Abbotsford but Canada as well.
“We’re an oral community, we tell our stories at the bedsides of our grandmothers and at the knees of our grandfathers. So this is an amazing opportunity for us, to be a part of the Canadian history to show that we belong to Canada, we have a history in Canada, and that we built this nation too,” said Satwinder Bains, director for the Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies at the University of the Fraser Valley.
“This is what we’ve left behind for the community. We needed to do something that was permanent and would continue on.”
Mayor Bruce Banman was at the event, wearing a head-covering, witnessing the historic ceremony.
“I’m truly amazed. We have a permanent piece of history that not only Abbotsford can be proud of, but Canada can be proud of. It’s the oldest Sikh temple in Canada, that’s important,” Banman said.