Date of Birth:
Village Sariana, Punjab
Balbir Patara was born in Bhade Sariana, Punjab, India, on July 10, 1950. She immigrated to Canada in March, 1972 after becoming engaged in the eighth grade. She was able to come through sponsorship by her husband, Swarn Patara. Her brother dropped her off at the airport in New Delhi, where the plane took her to Hong Kong for a layover. After the layover, she headed over to Calgary, where she was received at the airport by her in-laws.
She recalls the weather being very cold when she first arrived. As well as this, the highway was closed due to heavy snowfall, so Patara and her in-laws had to divert to a different route to head to her new home in small town, Golden, B.C. She recalls Golden as having a large Punjabi presence at that time.
Patara’s marriage was the first Sikh wedding to take place in Golden. She remembers life in Golden being very difficult for the first five years because the living style there was very different from India. After her children were born, she was able to settle in easier, especially because she became busier taking care of them.
On the weekends, Patara’s family would go to Emerald Lake, Yoho National Park, and have picnics there. They would bring homemade food, such as ‘pakoras’ and join with other families. Her children were younger at the time and enjoyed playing ball nearby. Her family would also go visit other Punjabi families in Donald, B.C. They would go in the morning, and come back home in the evenings. Her family also used to visit Calgary, Alberta, as well as Lake Cowichan and Victoria, B.C. She travelled back to visit India after ten years of living in Golden, and felt that Inda was very different by then.
She remembers the Punjabi families in Golden living very peacefully amongst each other, and recalls that all were friendly towards one another. Although many Punjabi families that once resided here have moved away, Patara hopes to remain in Golden.