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Province declares April 2017 Sikh Heritage Month

The province is recognizing April 2017 as Sikh Heritage Month, celebrating the contributions of Alberta’s Sikh community to Alberta’s cultural diversity.

Alberta declares April 2017 Sikh Heritage Month

Ministers Sabir and Miranda joined by representatives of Alberta's Sikh community at McDougall Centre in Calgary

Sikhs have been making Alberta their home since the early 1900s. Many arrived in Alberta and worked on the Canadian Pacific Railway, in sawmills and on farms.

“Sikh Heritage Month is an opportunity to celebrate the beauty and wisdom of the Sikh culture and the contributions that Sikh Canadians have made to communities across Alberta. I encourage all Albertans to observe Sikh Heritage Month and to explore Alberta’s rich and diverse history.”

Rachel Notley, Premier

“Albertans are proud of our extraordinary cultural diversity and our commitment to be a welcoming and inclusive province. Sikh Heritage Month is an opportunity to educate and recognize the rich diversity of thoughts and ideas that Sikh Albertans contribute to our communities and to celebrate Sikh culture together.”

Irfan Sabir, Minister of Community and Social Services

“Albertans of Sikh heritage are an important part of our province’s historic, cultural, political and economic fabric. Sikh Heritage Month is an opportunity to reflect on their place in Alberta’s story.”

Ricardo Miranda, Minister of Culture and Tourism

“The Sikh community in Alberta thanks Minister Sabir and the government for officially recognizing April 2017 as Sikh Heritage Month. Sikh Heritage Month has been long overdue in this province. It is an opportunity that not only sheds light on the contribution of Sikh Albertans but also provides a chance learn more about what it means to be Sikh.”

Gurcharan Singh Sangha, president of Gurdwara Surir Guru Singh Sabha

“Congratulations to the Government of Alberta for taking a clear stance on diversity and inclusion.  Sikh Heritage Month will help create a society that is more accepting and tolerant, promote a sense of belonging for the Sikh community members, and help build an even stronger Alberta.”

Parmeet Singh Boparai, President, Dashmesh Culture Centre Calgary

April is a significant month for the Sikh community. It’s when Sikh Canadians celebrate Vaisakhi (Sikh New Year), and signifies the formation of the Khalsa, and also the Sikh articles of faith in 1699.

2017 is a significant year for Sikh Albertans, as the 350th    anniversary of the birth of the tenth Sikh Guru, Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji is celebrated in Alberta and around the world.

The Government of Alberta will celebrate Sikh Heritage Month with members of the community on April 11 in Edmonton and on April 28 in Calgary. An exhibit of Sikh artifacts will be on display in the rotunda of the Alberta legislature throughout the month.

Quick facts: Sikhs in Alberta

  • Alberta has the third?highest Sikh population in Canada – 52,335 people, according to the 2011 census.
  • April is a significant month for the Sikh community, as it marks the celebration of Vaisakhi on April 14.
  • Sohan Singh Bhullar, one of the province’s first Sikh settlers, moved to Alberta in 1907. In 2013, the City of Edmonton named a park in his memory in the Mill Woods area.
  • Harnam Singh Hari, another early Sikh newcomer, settled in Calgary in 1909. The City of Calgary named a park in his honour in 2013.

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