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Sikh, Settlement

The word Sikh means disciple, or one who is learning the higher truths of life. Most Sikh people have their origins in the province of Panjab. The word Panjab means the land of five rivers. It is located near Pakistan and India. Sikh people are people that believe in the teachings of Sikh Gurus and try to live by the teachings and beliefs of these Gurus.

The Sikh people have been in Canada at least since 1908, although most Sikhs that immigrated to Canada at that time came to British Columbia. The number of Sikh immigrants to Canada is quite small compared to that of other groups. Many of the Sikh people that came to Canada did not intend to settle here. Then many factors changed their decisions such as, in 1947, when Sikhs were given the right to vote. Another development, which affected Sikh immigration, was the Canadian implementation of the point system. Before this time, many of the Sikhs who came to B.C. came only to work and save money with every intention of going back to their homelands. By the 1960s, many Sikh immigrants had thought differently, and wanted to make Canada their permanent home. This was most likely affected by obtaining the right to vote in Canada, as well as the children who had grown up with Canada as their only home.

For the most part Sikhs who immigrated to Canada settled in larger urban areas such as Vancouver, Calgary, and Edmonton, although most Sikh immigrants settled in Ontario or British Columbia. Most of the Sikhs who came to Canada came from India, but others came from such diverse places as Hong Kong, Kenya or the United Kingdom. Like many groups who choose to come to Canada their decision was based on many different things such as money and education. Many of the Sikh who immigrated to Canada under the point system, during the 1960s where skilled or educated workers, so finding a job to utilize their skill sets was more likely in a larger, urban area. These immigrants were also organized and took advantage of the community groups set up by Sikh immigrants as early as the 1900s.