Gur Sikh Temple and Sikh Heritage Museum
The Gur Sikh Temple is an important local landmark not just because it’s on the crest of a hill. This temple with a museum on South Fraser Way is also symbolic of the rich cultural mix in Abbotsford.
In 2002, Canada designated this temple as a national historic site. This designation recognizes the pioneer role it played in the Sikh immigration to North America.
Sikhs notably constitute 17% of the population in the Abbotsford-Mission Census Metropolitan Area. This slice is the highest among Canada’s CMAS.
Opened in 2011, the Gur Sikh Temple in Abbotsford is the oldest existing temple of the Sikhs in Canada. Its establishment highlighted the growth of Sikh pioneers who started coming into the country in 1905. Mostly, these immigrants were Punjabis from Northern India who worked on local farms and lumber companies.
This historic temple is located on a one-acre property, with its structure having a simple design. It stands as an early rendition of a Sikh Temple and reflects the limited means of the builders. Be that as it may, it counted as a robust forerunner in a network of temples that ushered in the pioneering stage of Canada’s Sikh community.
The Gur Sikh Temple adopted the Canadian commercial vernacular architecture of the period it was built. This style shows in the temple’s false-fronted façade, wood construction, and the verandah wrapped on three sides of building’s second floor. The same is evident in the temple’s gable roof and wood-frame build clad in wood siding.
The key elements of Sikh temple architecture were woven into this structural design. These features include four entrance doors, a prayer hall, religious rooms, common kitchen, and dining area. The symbols behind these features reflect the temple’s openness for all, regardless of status, race, or religion.
The Sikh Heritage Museum in the temple was opened in 2011 as part of the events celebrating the temple’s centennial. Since then, the museum has hosted various exhibits. The themes of these exhibits not only revolve around the Sikh religion but also subjects like South Asians and Hockey.
Next in this series you can learn about Field House Brewing.