Gurdwaar

Gur Sikh Temple, Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada

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The Gur Sikh Temple (Gurdwara) of Abbotsford in British Columbia is the oldest existing Sikh temple in North America and a National Historic Site Canada. This makes it currently (2010) the only Sikh temple outside of India and Pakistan, that is designated as national historic site.

The first Sikh pioneers came to the Abbotsford area in 1905 and originally worked on farms and in the lumber industry. First plans to build a temple were made in 1908. After a property situated on a hill was acquired the settlers carried lumber from a local mill on their backs up a hill to construct the gurdwara. When the Gurdwara opened on February 26, 1911 Sikhs and non-Sikhs from across British Columbia attended the ceremony and a local newspaper reported on the event. The temple was a two floor building, that from the outside looked like the contemporary wood houses of seen in local frontier towns. Features and decoration typical for Sikh architecture and design were only used in the interior. The first floor contains the Langar and common dining room for the community, and the second floor contains the prayer hall. The building was extended twice in 1932 and in the 1960s. In 1983, a new, much larger, temple with a completely different architectural style was built on the opposite side of the road. The old temple was designated a National Historic Site in 2002, with the designation declared by prime minister Jean Chr├ętien at a ceremony on July 26 of 2002. In 2007, the temple was completely renovated and reopened. In 2011, a small museum was created in the basement in connection with the temple's 100 years anniversary.

It was initially a part of the Khalsa Diwan Society. In 1975 the Khalsa Diwan Society of Abbotsford separated from the parent organization in Vancouver, as the title of the Abbotsford gurdwara was transferred to the separated entity. The Abbotsford Sikhs wanted to have local control over their gurdwara.

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