Nova Scotia

Sikhs celebrate new Halifax temple for growing community

Nova Scotia's growing Sikh community is getting a new home.

New gurdwara off Purcells Cove Road will have room for 800, nearly triple what the old temple could hold

Sikhs celebrate new Halifax temple for growing community

1 month ago
Duration 2:21
The new gurdwara off Purcells Cove Road will have room for 800 people — nearly triple what the old temple could hold.

Nova Scotia's growing Sikh community is getting a new home.

Simardeep Kaur Hundal, the president of the Maritime Sikh Society, says two years of work is coming to fruition as the new gurdwara, or temple, prepares to open its doors. 

A Sikh temple has been on the site off Purcells Cove Road in Halifax since 1978. The old gurdwara had room for two or three hundred, but that often left long lines of people outside. 

Hundal says the new gurdwara can host 700 to 800 worshipers at once. The old building was 3,600 square feet over two floors; the new one is three times that size. 

"The community has grown so much in two years. Every time we have a Sunday congregation or any function … we have 1,000 to 1,200 people attending," she said. 

'We get peace'

Already, the tall nishan sahib, or Sikh flag atop a pole, draws 10 to 15 people a day, usually Sikhs recognizing the sign that the Sikh holy book is present. 

Ravinder Kaur and Kamaldeep Kaur drove from Sydney to see the new gurdwara in Halifax. (CBC)

Ravinder Kaur and Kamaldeep Kaur happened to stop by as CBC was visiting. The women came to Nova Scotia in 2018 to study environmental engineering and now live and work in Sydney.

They drove to Halifax to visit the new gurdwara

"It's like our holy place. We don't have a holy place in Sydney. We don't have any to visit, so that's why we came here to worship," Kamaldeep Kaur said. 

Ravinder Kaur said she's noticed a rise in the Sikh population since she moved to Nova Scotia four years ago. She was proud to see the new gurdwara rising and eager to go inside. 

"We just get peace when we go inside and we just sit for 10, 15 minutes. It's a nice place," she said. 

Nova Scotia by choice

Hundal said in the past, Sikh students would come to study in Nova Scotia, but then move to B.C. or Ontario, where there are larger Sikh communities.

Now, they are more likely to stay in Nova Scotia. That, plus an influx of families immigrating to Nova Scotia for the affordable quality of life, are the two main drivers of the population growth, she said. 

The new temple has a large langar, or kitchen, downstairs to cook for worshippers and visitors, and anyone in need of food. It's part of the core Sikh values: honouring the equality of humanity, and avoiding lust, greed, anger, ego, and a love of worldly things. 

The community plans to hold a grand opening at the end of May, with people coming from all over Canada to celebrate.

Crews are putting the final touches on the gurdwara ahead of the planned grand opening in May. (CBC)

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