On Saturday, June 22 the Brampton residents gathered to celebrate the official opening of Komagata Maru Park.
The park is named after the SS Komagata Maru ship and pays tribute to those who were on the ship, and honours all immigrants, their struggles, triumphs and contributions to the mosaic of Canada.
This event will be the first Canadian commemoration of the Komagata Maru ship outside of British Columbia, Canada.
The SS Komagata Maru ship departed from Hong Kong in May of 1914, transporting immigrants, largely from the Punjab region of India, to Canada.
The ship was met by Canadian officials at the Port of Vancouver, and denied entry due to Canada’s Continuous Passage regulation, which was brought into force in 1908 in an effort to curb Indian immigration to Canada.
Thank you to all who joined us at the official opening of Komagata Maru Park on June 22! This event was the first Canadian commemoration of the #KomagataMaru incident outside of British Columbia. Bramptonians, descendants of the survivors of the ship, and dignitaries attended. pic.twitter.com/O0TJklaMoB— City of Brampton (@CityBrampton) June 24, 2019
Nearly all of the 376 passengers — 340 Sikhs, 24 Muslims and 12 Hindus—were denied entry. The ship remained docked at the harbour for two months in hope of clearance of the immigrants before it was eventually forced by the hostile Canadian immigration authorities to return to India.
The opening of the Komagata Memorial Maru Park was hosted by Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown and the city councillors, including Gurpreet Dhillon, Paul Vicente and Harkirat Singh on Saturday.
The park is situated next to the Springdale Branch Library and will have a playground, splash pad, picnic area, shade structure, as well as a garden and a water feature.
The event which was opened with the traditional smudging ceremony was attended by the descendants of the survivors of the ship and a large number of Brampton residents.
The vice president of the Descendants of Komagata Maru Society Raj Toor and granddaughters of two other central figures of Baba Gurdit Singh and Kanshi Ram also figured among the descendants of the survivors who attended the ceremony.
The ship had departed from Hong Kong in 1914 and was denied entry into Canada at the Port of Vancouver by the authorities citing Canada’s Continuous Passage regulation. The rule had been brought into force in 1908 mainly in a bid to curb Indian immigration to Canada.
Congratulations to all on official opening of Komagata Maru park in Brampton. I am proud to represent this ward where we respect the diversity and embrace the history. #KomagataMaru @CityBrampton pic.twitter.com/Dxp299tkuD— Balbir Sohi (@SohiBalbir) June 22, 2019
The park—featuring an electronic display board highlighting local events, the Komagata Maru tragedy and triumphs and struggles of immigrants—will depict the broader Canadian multiculturalism culture and immigration to Canada apart from being a “cultural hub” for groups across the city.
#KomagataMaru is an important part of our 🇨🇦 history. The lessons of this day make us more resilient today as a country.— Sonia Sidhu MP (@SoniaLiberal) June 22, 2019
Today’s opening of @CityBrampton’s Komagata Maru park is yet another example that our city leads the way when in comes to inclusivity and openness. pic.twitter.com/6z3f8wQ02N
Join us today at 11am as #Brampton pays tribute to those who were on the #KomagataMaru ship with the official opening of Komagata Maru Park. This is Canada’s first commemoration of the incident outside of BC. More details here https://t.co/4jzAoPea9C pic.twitter.com/38SOoI7mIL— City of Brampton (@CityBrampton) June 22, 2019