Maritime Sikh Society Fundraising Appeal  

Maritime Sikh Society Gurdwara Expansion Project             

Project Cost:  CAD $1,500,000        Funds needed:  CAD $975,000

Gurudwara Building 3D Rendered Video

The need to expand the Gurdwara Building was being felt and discussed by the maritime Sikh sangat for the last 10 years but was being postponed due the unique challenges.

Current Gurdwara Building was constructed in 1978 by only 20-25 Sikh families living in Nova Scotia. Though there was a consistent flow of Sikh immigrants into the province after the initial settlement, very few stayed to call it home. Most of the immigrants moved to more prosperous parts of Canada after spending a year or two in Nova Scotia.

Sikh families grew from 25 to 50 until 2010, after which Nova Scotia started seeing a little more consistent influx of immigrants with improved retention. As of today, Nova Scotia has Sikh population of approximately 1000 (total number including students, not families) out of which:

  1. Pioneer population is aged and retired with minimal financial resources.
  2. Second generation moved away with minimum contact or interest in the affairs of their home state. Though some MSS children responded to the calls for donation.
  3. Middle aged population that is still working and financially sound is very small.
  4. Most of the young families, which comprise the biggest part of Nova Scotia’s Sikh population are still struggling to settle and can offer limited help.
  5. We have a huge influx of students, who look up to Gurdwara as a contact to their roots and home. Most of the students are very good volunteers but also have financial limitations and need support themselves.

Point is, though Nova Scotia’s Sikh population is growing resulting in increased number of Gurdwara goers, we still have very few people with financial resources who are willing and able to help the project.

In the last few years, the langar and Diwan hall became too small resulting in line-ups outside the gurdwara even in harsh winters.

Mr. Pyara Singh Randhawa, who was also involved directly with previous construction and expansion in 1978 and 1998 took the challenge on himself and started expansion of the gurdwara building in 2018. Most of the excavation and parking lot grading, permits and designs were completed in 2018 and 2019. Actual construction started in early 2020 and continued with the hope that our generous Sikh Sangat from all over the world will help us complete the fundraising goal. Then COVID 19 situation presented another challenge.

At present:

  1. Almost 750,000 has been spent on construction, out of which 250,000 are still owing to contractors and suppliers who are threatening to put lean on the Gurdwara building.
  2. We have approached multiple banks for construction loan but has been denied by three major banks so far based on previous years income, which was limited and currently zero because the gurdwara is closed. Also, current economic situation is adding to bank’s hesitation.
  3. We approached a few wealthy Sikh philanthropists, but no positive response so far.
  4. Guru granth Sahib is resting in a devotee’s home where access is very limited.
  5. Most of the belongings including palki are stored in storage PODS.
  6. Construction is stopped as we can’t raise funds fast enough to pay the workers.
  7. If roof is not tightened in the next few months, before weather becomes cold, there is risk of damage to the construction completed so far.

In these circumstances, we are looking up to our guru roop and generous Sikh sangat to come to our rescue and help in raising required funds so that we can complete the construction and parkashmaan Guru Granth Sahib back in his home in all the glory.

Please donate, even a small amount count.

Historic Importance of Maritime Sikh Society

Once established in 1968 by pioneer Sikhs, most of whom came to Nova Scotia as teachers, existing Gurdwara was built in 1978. It has played a very pivotal role in the lives of Sikh families in Nova Scotia since then. We will share some pictures of historical importance here which show the Maritime Sikh Sangat’s response to 1984 and the consequences faced by Sikhs in the after math.

 

 

Pioneer Sikhs in Nova Scotia celebrated first Baisakhi in 1968

 

 

Between 1968 and 1978 weekend gatherings and congregation were held at various places, some at members’ homes or a rented hall, Sikhs found a way to connect with their guru and practice faith until in the good year of 1978, they were able to build a small gurdwara and parkashmaan Guru Granth Sahib. It was a day of pride for everyone!

 

 

Every Sikh’s pride, Gurdwara that connects with guru!

Nova Scotia Sikh responded to the saddest time in the Sikh history that broke every sikh heart.

 

 

Though small, Maritime Sikh Society and Gurdwara kept everyone connected to the teachings of our guru along with new generations.

 

 

In 1987, when situation in Punjab worsened for Sikh youth, 170 Sikhs landed illegally at the south shore of Noa Scotia and were detained by police. Along with the local people, Maritime Sikh Society members and Gurdwara helped them by preparing langar and delivering to them every day. Khalsa Diwan president at that time, Sardar Pandori arranged for their bail from Toronto.

 

 

All of those refugee Sikhs are well settled and moved to different parts of Canada and they remember Maritime Sikh Society very fondly for the help and care they got. Some of them visited the place later. Here are some links to the story:

https://www.nytimes.com/1987/07/14/world/canada-seizes-freighter-believed-to-have-put-174-sikhs-on-shore.html?smid=em-share

https://archive.macleans.ca/article/1987/7/27/the-newest-boat-people#!&pid=6

https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1987-07-13-mn-2162-story.html