Dev Mall

Date of Birth:
Village Surapur, District Jalandhar, Punjab
Current City:
Golden, BC

Dev Mall was born on May 24, 1955, in Village Surapur, District Jalandhar, Punjab, India. His father first arrived to Canada in late 1968, and sponsored the rest of the family to join him. Dev Mall came to Canada as a permanent resident in December, 1977, alongside his younger brother and his mother. He went on a long journey to come to Canada- his plane came from New Delhi and first stopped in Tokyo, then San Francisco, and finally Calgary where he made his way up to Golden.

Dev remembers being surprised by the large amounts of snow he saw when he first arrived. He also recalls English being difficult to learn at the beginning because at the time he only knew Punjabi. After enrolling in English Second Language (ESL) classes, and then later attending high school, his English began to improve.

Although Dev lived in Golden, he would drive to Donald to work. Because of this, he was able to practice his driving skills. In Golden, he worked at a saw mill, work that he recalls being difficult, especially due to his shorter height.

Dev enjoyed the big Punjabi community because they played sports games with one another, would go fishing together, play card games and even had an organized soccer team. They had the opportunity to play against other soccer teams from Vancouver, Calgary, and Edmonton, in the late seventies and early eighties.

Dev was able to sponsor his fiancée to come to Canada. At that time, immigration laws allowed Canadians to sponsor their fiancée, and then get married in Canada. So he brought his future wife over to Canada, where they then underwent a court marriage. After the court marriage, they celebrated with three parties. Back when Mall got married on April 10, 1981, there was no Gurdwara in Golden and so he celebrated at a hall that was known as the ‘Snow King Castle.’ He recalls this hall being used for other purposes, including screening Punjabi and Hindi movies on the weekend.

Dev also remembers the Punjabi community getting together to make Punjabi sweets during functions. For his own wedding as an example, a group of Punjabi ladies got together and cooked a variety of sweets at home. There was no catering service at the time- the closest city was Calgary, Alberta, which also didn’t have any South Asian catering services. He does not recall being discriminated against within the small community. He describes Golden as being a good place to raise a family, and notes that his children enjoy living there.