The Sikh Society of Calgary has been a pillar of Sikhism in Calgary for over 40 years.
As one of the first Gurudwara’s in Calgary, the Sikh Society of Calgary is proud to be an active and steadfast institution that promotes and practices Sikhism. We are proud to be a part of the cultural mosaic that is Canada and promote an attitude of integration, participation and community service. We welcome all of those who wish to learn more about Sikhism to attend our regularly schedule programs. We also welcome any inquiries by individuals or groups who wish to learn more about Sikhism. For student groups or organizations that would like a tour of religious services please contact us.
Our Gurdwara – Our History
Our Gurdwara was completed in 1978 through the dedication and determination from the pioneer Sikhs in the Calgary area. Sikh Society of Calgary has a very rich and diverse history that has been shaped by the early settlers in Calgary. Sikhs have been making Calgary their home since the early 1900’s. Sardar Harnam Singh Hari made Alberta his family home in 1910 becoming the first Sikh family living in the Calgary area. In the early 1930’s, Sardar Berama Singh and Sardarni Dhun Kaur moved from Pincher Creek to Calgary becoming the second family to call Calgary their home. In the 1950’s and 1960’s, as more families migrated to the Calgary area and the Sikh community started holding religious gatherings at private residences. In 1967, the first public Diwan was held at the Jubilee Auditorium in Calgary to commemorate Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s Gurpurb. The Diwans became regular events held at rented halls where all major occasions were celebrated by the community. Albert Park Community Centre in the S.E. was a regular place of weddings for our community.
On March 18, 1968 the society was officially registered as “Singh Society” with the founding executive consisting of the following individuals:
- Srdr. Gurcharanjit S. Attariwala(President),
- Sdrni. Sunder K. Grewal(Vice President),
- Srdr. Teja Singh(Secretary),
- Srdr. Gulzar S. Sahota(Joint Secretary ) and
- Srdr. Ranjit S. Dhaliwal(Treasurer).
Building of our Gurdwara
Once the Society was formed, building a Gurdwara became its primary objective. This required a tremendous amount of effort, sacrifice and determination from the Sikh community. In 1972, 5 acres of land was bought at the present Gurdwara site. Prior to construction a ceremony was held on April 13, 1976 and construction commenced in August 1976. Notwithstanding many challenges faced by members of the small Sikh community, work on the Gurdwara was completed in late 1978. Regular services were started immediately and continues to this day. The official opening ceremony was held on April 13, 1979. We are humbled by the hard work, determination, dedication of our pioneer Sikh families. Sikh Society of Calgary is truly their legacy to us, the future Sikh generations.
Bhai Pashaura Singh- The first full-time Priest of the Sikh Society was Bhai Pashaura Singh. He was 30 years old when he came to Canada and held a Masters Degree in Sikh Divinity with a gold medal from Gurmat College of Pujabi University, Patiala. Bhai Pashaura Singh and his wife Bibi Baljit Kaur contributed a great deal to the development of the Society and its programs. He also completed his Masters in comparative religious studies from the University of Calgary in 1988. He also obtained a Ph.D. in Sikh Studies from the University of Toronto in 1991 – the first person in Canada to have this distinction.
Bhai Harkirat Singh- In 1989, Bhai Harkirat Singh became the 2nd full-time priest for the Sikh Society and he held a B.A. in General Studies from Lyallpur Khalsa College, Jalandhar, a M.A. in Sikh Divinity with a Gold Medal from Gurmat College of Punjabi University, Patiala and M. Phil. in comparative religious studies from Guru Nanak University, Amritsar. He along with his wife made tremendous contributions to the Society and its programs.
Bhai Joginder Singh- Our current priest has been with us since 2007. He holds a M.A. in Punjabi Literature from Guru Nanak Dev University, Amristar; an M.A. in History from Punjab University, Patiala and an M.A. in Religious Studies from Bhopal University, Bhopal. He along with his wife Sardarni Harjeet Kaur serve our sangat today.
Interesting Facts about our Gurdwara
- The first Akand Path was performed by the Society in 1977.
- Ardas at the sod turning ceremony was performed by Srdr. Nasib S. Lail
- On October 3, 1979 the name of the Society was changed from Singh Society to Sikh Society.
- The Society received its first Chanani, Romalas, Chaur Sahib and the utensils from Gurdwara Singh Sabha and Khalsa Boys & Girls School of Nairobi, Kenya.