The Sikh faith, founded in 1499 by Guru Nanak, originated in the northwestern province of Punjab in India. After the partition of India in 1947, many Sikhs immigrated to Britain, the United States, and Canada. Although there were Sikhs in British Columbia as early as 1900, the first Sikhs arrived in Saskatchewan in the late 1960s. The first few families settled in Saskatoon, and in 1969 the first family settled in Regina. Owing to the small numbers of Sikhs in the province at that time, there was no official Gurdwara (Sikh temple): the worship ceremonies were held in the homes of various Sikh families until 1977, when the Odd Fellows Hall in Regina was rented. During the 1980s, members of the Sikh communities from both Saskatoon and Regina traveled to many Gurdwaras across the country in an effort to raise funds for the purchase of temples in their respective cities. With the opening of the Sikh Temple of Saskatoon in 1985 and the Sikh Temple of Regina in 1988, their goal was realized. In the late 1980s and early 1990s the Sikh population in Saskatchewan had climbed to almost 200 families. However, like many Saskatchewanians drawn by greater opportunities in other Canadian provinces, many Sikhs have left the province, and their number has now dwindled to about 100 families. The main concentration of Sikhs remains in Saskatoon and Regina, but there is still a Sikh presence in many rural communities in Saskatchewan.
Harvey Basi, Melanie Neuhofer