British Columbia

Walking tour honours 102nd anniversary of the Komagata Maru

Dozens of people met in Vancouver for a walking tour to honour the 102 anniversary of the Komagata Maru incident.

Dozens of people met at Vancouver's Coal Harbour to mark the anniversary

The plaque at Vancouver's Coal Harbour shows a black and white photograph of the passengers. It was taken in 1914 when the ship first landed on the shores of Vancouver. (Christer Waara/CBC)

Dozens of people met at Vancouver's Coal Harbour for a walking tour to honour the 102nd anniversary of the Komagata Maru incident. 

It was on May 23, 1914 that a ship carrying 376 Punjabi would-be immigrants arrived in Vancouver's harbour but were denied entry. Two months later they were sent back to India. 

"In a way we're fulfilling ... the dream that those passengers had of being in Vancouver by telling their stories on its shores," said Naveen Girn, one of the organizers of the walking tour. 

Naveen Girn is one of the organizers of the walking tour. He said the tour starts at the plaque in Coal Harbour, a place 'those passengers dreamed of being one day'. (Christer Waara/CBC)

The tours happen often, but this time it is getting more attention because of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's apology last week in the House of Commons.

Organizers say there is still more work to be done.

Paneet Singh was one of the leaders of the walking tour. He said the apology from the Canadian government was welcomed but there is still more work to be done. (Christer Waara/CBC)

"The apology was welcomed with open arms and was most appreciated by the community," said Paneet Singh, who was one of the leaders of the tour. 

"That being said it is by no means a closing chapter on the Komagata Maru story because the effects of the Komagata Maru are still felt today," he said. 

The tour touches on several sites connected to the incident, such as the old law offices of J. Edward Bird.

Bird was the lawyer who fought for the passengers on the ship to remain in Canada. 

Dozens of people met at Coal Harbour for a walking to honour the anniversary of the Komogatu Maru incident. (Christer Waara/CBC)

With files from the CBC's Farrah Merali. 

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