Jarnail Singh Dhami
Date of Birth:
Village Piplanwala, Hoshiarpur, Punjab
Jarnail Singh Dhami was born in the village of Piplanwala, Hoshiarpur in Punjab, India on August 8, 1932. Jarnail’s grandfather came to Canada in late 1880s and his father in late 1931. Jarnail completed his education in India and did a Bachelor’s degree in Punjabi honors. At the age of 28, around 1960, he came to Vancouver, BC after his father sponsored him. Upon landing in Vancouver, his father picked him up and drove to their home. Jarnail then started working and got his first job at a farm in Cloverdale, BC. After working there for a year, he worked at another place for a year and eventually started working at a sawmill – Vancouver B. Lumber, where his father was working at that time. After five years of being in Canada, he became a Canadian Citizen and sponsored his wife and children to come to Canada.
Eventually, he moved to Kelowna and started looking for work opportunities in this new city. He already had certificates in the field of botany from India, and applied for a job with the city of Kelowna. The city officials were very impressed by his qualifications and gave him a job of a gardener, soil tester and a pesticide specialist. He worked there for almost thirty seven to forty years without ever being laid off.
Jarnail was one of the early South Asian settlers in Kelowna. He was also active in getting the second gurdwara (Sikh Temple) built in Kelowna. He always had a strong opinion that all Sikhs should go to the gurdwara. He along with six more people formed a committee and started collecting money from cities like Vernon, Calgary and all over Vancouver to buy land for the gurdwara in Rutland, Kelowna.
Jarnail shares that in those days most of the South Asian community in Kelowna was working in the farming industry and they shared a good relationship with the local communities. Even at work, all the officials from different departments liked and respected him.