Pioneer Asian Indian
Immigration to the Pacific Coast

UCDavis Library

Historical Photographs

Most of the photos displayed here illustrate mainly Sikh immigration owing to the fact that early settlement from Punjab was predominantly Sikh. In the early part of this century all immigrants from India were indiscriminately called "hindoo" or "hindu" regardless of religious affiliation. The term "hindoo" was also sometimes used in a pejorative sense for anyone from that continent. Permission to reproduce any of these photographs must first be obtained from the archive shown in the photo credits for each photo.

Please contact T. S. Sibia
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Canada

Click on thumbnail to obtain a larger image.
Among the earliest arrivals
Mill Workers - Retired Sikh Soldiers from Shanghai or Hong Kong (Photo source: A history book of Sikhs in Canada and California by Dhillon, Mahinder Singh. pp. 36) 1906. Among the earliest Sikhs to arrive in Vancouver. (Photo source: in "Canada's New Immigrants", by J. Barkley Williams and Saint N. Sing. Canadian Magazine, 28:383,1906)
Group of Sikhs Sikhs at Victoria Temple 1924
1907? Caption reads: "Group of Sikhs who are employed in one of the lumber mills at Port Moody, British Columbia. Most of these men are ex-soldiers and are hardy and courageous" originally appearing in the article, "The Hindu Invasion", by Fred Lockley, Pacific Monthly, May 1907, pp. 590-594. (Courtesy Bancroft Library, University of California). 1924. Sikh Temple at 1210 Topaz Avenue, Victoria, B.C., Canada. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Manmohan S. Wirk, Victoria, B.C.).
Monument to first soldier Sikhs in Vancouver, at

the Vancouver Gurdwara Canadian Western Lumber Co.
Monument at the Vancouver Gurdwara to first soldier Sikhs in Vancouver. (Photo by author 1997) 1900's. Workers at the Canadian Western Lumber Company, New Westminster, B.C., probably lining up for pay. (Photo Source: A history book of Sikhs in Canada and California by Dhillon, Mahinder Singh. pp. 175.)
1897. Hong Kong Regiment visiting Vancouver, en route to London to celebrate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, 1897.  On board was also a group of Chinese and Japanese immigrants and Sikh military.
1908. New Westminster Street, Vancouver, B.C. {Photo VPL 5236, Courtesy Vancouver Public Library (VPL.)} 1897. Hong Kong Regiment visiting Vancouver, en route to London to celebrate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, 1897. On board was also a group of Chinese and Japanese immigrants and Sikh military.(Photo VPL 3027 Courtesy VPL.)
1907. East Indian immigrants (mostly Sikhs) landing in Canada at the CPR Pier, loading possessions onto horse-drawn wagons. Hastings Street, 

Vancouver, Novermber 1905. (CVA Port 1551 N862. Courtesy  CVA).
1907. East Indian immigrants (mostly Sikhs) landing in Canada at the CPR Pier, loading possessions onto horse-drawn wagons.(Photo VPL 9426, Courtesy VPL.) 1905. Arrival of the first Hindus in Vancouver, November 1905, camped on Hastings Street between Abbott and Carrall Streets. The temperature was below freezing. (CVA Port 1551 N862 Courtesy City of Vancouver Archives.)
Piles of lumber being air-dried in a lumber yard. Sikh is on horseback. Funeral of first Sikh who died in Vancouver
Piles of lumber being air-dried in a lumber yard. Sikh is on horseback. (Photo 14264 Courtesy VPL.) 1907. Funeral for first Sikh who died in Vancouver in 1907. No permission was granted by the mayor or others. They took the deceased to a distant forest in the middle of the night and cremated the body in the morning. (Photo 13291 Courtesy VPL.)
Vancouver First Sikh Temple 1936
1936. (Opened January 19, 1908.) A gathering at the Vancouver Sikh Temple, 1866 West Second Avenue, in 1936. Later demolished and rebuilt on a different site in 1970.(Source: The Voyage of Komagata Maru, by Hugh Johnston, a plate before page 47. The author is also trying to find another picture. Second Picture Source: A history book of Sikhs in Canada and California by Dhillon, Mahinder Singh. pp. 53)

1893 - Written in barely legible text at the bottom of the picture you will find: "1st Punjaub Cavalry & 1st Contingent - Indian Horse S78 F.G.O.S." (Source: Gulinder S. Gill)

Bhai Sarain Singh

Sardarni Prakash Kaur Malik (next to Sardar Malik) and her daughter at the Victoria Gurudwara when Sardar Malik visited there in 1948 as India's first High Commissioner to Canada.


Amar Singh Sangh came to Canada May 21, 1914. Died Jan. 14, 1919

Seated - Bhai Bhag Singh, Prof.Teja Singh, Bibi Bishan Kaur (wife of Prof. Teja Singh) and Bhai Balwant Singh. Childre: Mukand Singh and Hari Singh (without turbans)- sons of Pro. Teja Singh.
Standing: (from left) - Bhai Raja Singh Barian, Bhai Arjan Singh Malak, Bhai Sarnagat Singh, Bhai Hari Singh (Granthi) and Bhai Kartar Singh Nawan Chand.

Sikh laborers in Vancouver 1900 ~ 1910
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections.
Negative no: UW 18745

Sikh laborers in Vancouver 1900 ~ 1910
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections.
Negative no: UW 18744

Sikh with two bagsin Vancouver 1900 ~ 1910
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections.
Negative no: UW 15673

Opening ceremony of Sikh temple,Victoria 1912

Sikh Temple, 2nd Avenue, Vancouver, B.C., Canada. build in 1907.(now replaced)

A cartoon in a Toronto newspaper 50 years back depicting the religious and linguistic vagries of India.

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Contact T.S. Sibia
tssibia@sikhpioneers.org