Date of Birth:
Village Surapur, District Jalandhar, Punjab
Dev Mall was born on May 24, 1955 in Village Surapur, in District Jalandhar, Punjab, India. He immigrated to Canada in 1977 with his mother, and two brothers after receiving sponsorship from his father, who at that time was already in Canada. His father came to Canada in late 1967 or early 1968.
Dev Mall and his family took a flight from New Delhi to Calgary via San Francisco in December 1977, where they were picked up from the airport by members of the Suman and Jassi Family, who drove them to Lake Louise. Dev’s father was residing in Lake Louise at that time.
Dev recollects experiencing snow for the first time in his life after moving to Lake Louise. Apart from this, another new experience for Dev was seeing everyone communicate in English. He didn’t speak English at that time, and felt very helpless for not being able to communicate with people. To overcome this problem, Dev started taking ESL lessons and got into high school, eventually getting a job. But this took time and the first five years were very difficult for him. He also found his job in a sawmill in Donald, BC physically demanding.
Despite these difficulties, Dev enjoyed the community life at that time (the early 1980’s) in Donald. There was a large Punjabi community and everyone used to play sports like soccer and volleyball, go fishing and play cards every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. There was even a soccer team, which Dev was a part of, and they played against the local teams in Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. People also used to watch movies together at a hall called “Logan Vala Hall,” where they had a small projector to play English, Hindi and Punjabi movies on the weekend. The same hall was also used for other purposes, such as marriages and family functions. In fact, Dev Mall got married in that same hall on April 10, 1980.
Dev’s wife came from India after he sponsored her to come to Canada. For this, he applied for her sponsorship at the Cranbook border, did a court registration for marriage on April 10, and got married on May 2, 1980.
Dev Mall had three separate parties for the men, women and the white people in addition to a formal court marriage. There was no gurdwara in Donald at that time, nor were there any Indian grocery or sweet shops. For his marriage parties, the ladies from the Punjabi community all came together to prepare Indian sweets and food as no catering services were available for Indian food. This way, the community lived, socialized and helped each other as one big family.
Dev has enjoyed his time living in the city of Golden. He has never faced any kind of major discrimination and finds the people over here to be very friendly. Dev visited India for the first time after 16 years of being in Canada, but now visits India as frequently as two trips a year.