Canada Names Park After First Sikh Settler

parkTo commemorate contribution of Sikhs in Canada’s development, the country has named a new park in the city of Calgary after the legendary farmer Harnam Singh Hari, the first Sikh to tame the harsh climes of frigid Alberta province in 1909.

Alberta’s minister of human services Manmeet Singh Bhullar, who was in Amritsar recently said the park was dedicated to Hari and his family, who identified fertile farmland and set the pace of agricultural progress in the province. Manmeet accompanied Alberta premier Alison Redford on an official visit to India to set up a trade office for his province in Delhi.

With plans to enhance trade and investment opportunities between Alberta and Punjab, the two visited the Golden Temple on Monday to pay obeisance. Bhullar spoke about Sikhs’ selfless service in Canada. “We have wings named after Guru Nanak Dev in almost all major hospitals in the country. Sikhs are enjoying great prosperity because of principles learnt from their forefathers, teachings of Gurus and inspiration from the divine,” he said.

In reply to a question about Canada’s province of Quebec where the Parti Quebecois government is likely to introduce a bill to regulate religious symbolism, Bhullar said, “Even if they introduce the bill, Canadian Charter will overrule it as it has always protected minority religious and equality rights.”

Redford said she has signed two MoUs with Punjab government to boost cooperation and enhance trade and investment activities between the two states. “These agreements are focused on agriculture and animal genetics and would help increase trade in dairy production and piggery. Setting up of an agricultural working group is in the pipeline to encourage communication on projects of importance,” said the Alberta premier.

Impressed with the institution of langar (community kitchen), Alison Redford served the devotees in the Golden Temple. “In Alberta, I have visited many temples but visiting Golden Temple, and to see the same spirit of service and worship was an honour,” Alison remarked. Referring to Redford’s keenness in langar, Bhullar, in a lighter vein, said, “Alberta is a major producer of lentils and she got to see where the lentils from Canada go – in feeding tens of thousands of people every day.”

According to Redford, “India is not only a big market for lentils and other products, but there’s also a close commercial relationship between people in Punjab and Alberta.” She also said that Alberta’s large Sikh community contributes actively to political, social and business activities and thus, help making the province one of the best place to live, work and raise a family.