Last week on an impromptu ferry ride to and road trip across Vancouver Island with some friends I had the privilege of visiting this place. Walking through the doors of the darbar felt like opening up a lost treasure chest. The smell inside was akin to the kind given off by flipping through the pages of an old book. I fail to do justice to that feeling with words. Our history on this coast runs deep. 🙏🏽 "As the lumber industry expanded, the community continued to grow. It became a mixed community of East Indians, Japanese, Chinese and Caucasians, but only the Japanese men had their families with them. Not until the late 1920’s did East Indian families begin to arrive. By that time there was a mill, a company store, bunkhouses for workers and housing for families. A school had been established in 1921 and in that same year the second Sikh temple on Vancouver Island was constructed in Paldi (the first had been built in Victoria in 1912). A Japanese temple was eventually constructed as well. East Indian and Japanese children would attend language classes at their respective temples after school. The community continued to grow steadily, even through the Great Depression, and in spite of the fact that the mill temporarily closed down from 1931-1933. At its peak, Paldi had a population capable of supporting its own high school.
With the advent of W.W.II all Japanese were evacuated from the coast. Mayo Singh closed down the sawmill in Paldi from 1945-46 but continued to operate two others. Once the war ended, Japanese families gradually began to return to Paldi. Over the years, the East Indian community tried to preserve Sikh culture in Paldi. Mayo Singh died in 1955. His contribution to the Cowichan Valley was not only the establishment of a flourishing lumber industry, but included generous donations to hospitals and schools." (Excerpt taken from the home page of www.paldi.ca - corrected for spelling errors.) #bcsikhs #punjabi #paldi #sawmill #sikhhistory #sikh