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
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.
This digital collection was
produced with financial assistance from Canada's Digital
Collections initiative, Industry Canada.