Date of Birth:
Patara, Jalandhar, Punjab
Amrik Khunkhun was born on March 24, 1939 in Patara, Jalandhar in Punjab, India. With his family’s support he first came to Canada as a visitor and then later applied for immigration. He landed on May 24, 1970 in Vancouver, BC and took a ferry to Nanaimo where his brother picked him up and they went to Lake Cowichan where he stayed for three weeks. Amrik faced many obstacles with immigration and getting his permanent resident status. Once he did finally gain his permanent resident status however, his wife automatically got it as well.
His parents lived in Donald, BC and his brothers lived in Lake Cowichan, BC where one sibling used to work in the mills and the other used to study. Amrik felt overwhelmed when he first moved to Canada but was amazed to see such a beautiful city like Vancouver. In 1971 he started looking for jobs but there were not many job opportunities during that time. He worked at Kamaino Forest Mill in 1971 for three months and in 1972 he started working at a mill in Donald. Amrik had to struggle a lot during his first five years in Canada as he was the only one earning in his house. His family (wife and three children) used to live in one room with two beds.
Due to health reasons, he only worked for about five to ten years because he ended up with respiratory issues. Despite his health issues, he still had to keep working as he had purchased his own house and also had to provide for his children and family. In 1989, he had a disability and couldn’t work at all. He also faced a lot of problems with his external family in terms of businesses.
Amrik remembers when he moved there were only 11-12 families living in Donald, there was no gurdwara and at that time everyone used to get together on Sunday and do paath (prayer) and kirtan (singing of gurbani) at somebody’s house where everyone contributed towards the parshad (sweet offering). The money they collected was kept for the construction of the current gurdwara in Golden. The first time they brought the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji to the local areas was from Lake Cowichan when Amrik’s brother got married in 1972. This was a memorable moment for the community.