Once Again, Canadian City Honors Sikhs

Canadian city of Calgary has honored it’s first Sikh resident Harnam Singh Hari by naming a park after him. Via: The Calgary Sun

His accent was strange, the turban even more so.

But when Harnam Singh Hari walked up to a pile of cement bags and hoisted a pair of the heavy sacks at once, that was all the introduction he needed — he got the job.

Calgary Sun

Calgary Sun

With most workers at the cement plant struggling to load just a single bag, the young Punjabi’s prodigious strength and a willingness to work made his unfamiliar dress and accent a moot point.

Hari had found his home — and Alberta in the year 1909 had found its first Sikh citizen.

“He was the first in Calgary, and likely the first in Alberta,” said Mona Hari Bartsoff, a great granddaughter of the pioneer.

This weekend, Singh Hari is finally getting some recognition for a daring rags-to-riches story even more daunting than most, with the dedication of a city park in his name.

Located in the southwest community of Kingsland, Singh Hari Park is on the very land the strapping ex-soldier eventually farmed, a 400-acre spread stretching from what is now Chinook Centre to Heritage Dr., between Macleod Tr. and Elbow Dr.

When he sold the hog operation to developers in 1956, Singh Hari was among Calgary’s richest citizens — a far cry from the penniless stowaway thrown off the train at Exshaw, where a cement plant had recently opened.

Just getting to that Alberta mountain town was a dream come true for Singh Hari, who’d heard glowing tales of Canada while serving with the British Army in Burma.

Read the Rest here: New Calgary park named after Alberta’s first Sikh Harnam Singh Hari

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