City Sikhs Plan New, Larger Temple

August 27, 2007

Author: Matthew Kruchak

Source: Times Colonist

Akal Purkh Singh Gill stood in the prayer hall of the Punjabi Akali Sikh Temple. He's surrounded by the past, by the melding of two cultures that has taken place over 60 years.

A clock donated in 1971 hangs on the fake wood panelling. The red carpet leading to the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of Sikhism, is surrounded by a thick multicoloured carpet from the 1970s.

But the 67-year old building is being demolished. And Gill doesn't care.

He lifted his arm and pointed toward the window to an empty lot on Graham Street.

"The same memories move there," the chairman of the temple said, wearing a sport coat and a blue turban.

A new 1,102-square-metre temple, twice the size of the current one, will fill the lot. Construction begins once they receive a permit.

"I find the oldtimers don't look back," said Jag Gillan, 34, Akal's son. "They look forward. They look toward the kids."