Mission Moments – History of Mission’s South Asian Community
Ken Herar, Founding Director of Cycling 4 Diversity, presented this evening’s Mission Moments. The history and contributions of Mission’s South Asian and Sikh community go back nearly 100 years. Mission’s first South Asian families began arriving in the 1930s, attracted by Mission City’s lumber mill and thriving lumber industry. Even though the nearest Sikh temple was located in Abbotsford, the majority of the Sikh families in the Fraser Valley resided in Mission City.
In 1947, the Canadian government restored the rights of Chinese and South Asian Canadians to vote and in 1950, Mission resident Naranjan Grewall became the first South Asian in Canada to hold public office. In 1954, he was appointed to the position of Mayor of Mission City. He is thought to have played an important factor in Mission being granted Tree Farm Licence #26, a resource the District has managed since 1958 and has played a significant role in the local economy.
Other significant highlights for Mission’s South Asian community include: the opening of the crematorium in 1982, largely financed by the South Asian community; and the opening of the Sikh Temple on the Lougheed Highway in 1989.