Canadian Sikh Heritage | Joginder Singh Parmar
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Joginder Singh Parmar

Joginder Singh Parmar was born on December 10, 1928 in the village Banga, District Nawanshahr, Punjab, India.  Joginder Singh’s mother name was Chatter Kaur and his father’s name was Malkit Singh. In total, Chatter Kaur and Malkit Singh had five children, four sons and one daughter. Joginder Singh was married to his wife, Parkash Kaur in November, 1950 in India.

In the year 1961, Joginder Singh and his entire family (wife Parkash Kaur and five year old son Nirmal) migrated to Canada. They immediately began living in Paldi, British Columbia because the family was sponsored by Mayo Singh’s son-in-law, Karnail Singh, who was Parkash Kaur’s brother. As such, the Parmar family has deep connections with the community of Paldi, the Mayo family and their mill company. Upon his arrival to Paldi, Joginder Singh began working for the Mayo Lumber Company. For the first fifteen days or so upon their arrival to Canada, the Parmar family lived with Joginder Singh’s brother in law Karnail Singh. Joginder Singh and Parkash Kaur then began renting a brand new three bedroom home for a payment of $30.00 per month. Joginder Singh recalls how even in that time period, in the 1960’s, there’s was only one of ten or twelve families that had a fully functioning family space. Most of the men working for the Mayo Lumber company still consisted of forty single men living in bunkhouses who would eat together, etc. According to Joginder Singh, there was great diversity in Paldi during this time. For example, there were many Caucasian families who lived in Paldi, seven or eight Japanese families and eight or nine Chinese families living together in this small community.

Soon after they arrived in Paldi, Joginder Singh and Parkash Kaur had a second child in 1962, a son whose name is Hardeep. Joginder Singh is proud to say that both his sons graduated from Lake Cowichan as they would take the bus from Paldi to Lake Cowichan in order to attend school.  Joginder Singh worked for the Mayo’s for fourteen years, and then went to work for the Doman family and their lumber company located in Horseshoe Bay. In July, 1974, Parkash Kaur passed away. Soon after, after having lived in Paldi for sixteen years, Joginder Singh and his two sons moved to Duncan in 1979.

In 1995, Joginder Singh retired where he continued to enjoy his life with his five grandchildren. It was with great sadness that the community heard of Joginder Parmar’s recent passing on June 7, 2014. His family released the following message in his obituary soon after:

Our father brought his family to Canada in 1961 and settled in Paldi. He worked in the lumber industry with Mayo Lumber Company and Domans. He was a hardworking, loyal man with old world values and honest virtues. He instilled these with passion in his work and family life as well as in his devotion to service (seva). For 53 years he volunteered his service at the Paldi Sikh Temple. He never wavered from his conviction and determination to protect, preserve and to keep the Paldi Sikh Temple functioning. In the Cowichan Valley East Indian Community he was known and will be known as a man with a photographic memory and a wealth of knowledge. He was interviewed by numerous media agencies that did documentaries on the history of Paldi.

He is survived by his brothers Dilbagh Singh (Harjit Kaur) and Gurbax Singh (Ranjit Kaur). Left behind to honor his memory and carrying his blessings are his sons Nirmal Singh (Daljit Kaur), Hardeep Singh (Rajwinder Kaur) and his grandchildren Shaun, Jason, Rajin, Bonita and Amandeep and many caring nephews and nieces.

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