Date of Birth:
Village Surapur, District Jalandhar, Punjab
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 soon after to join him. As such, Dev Mall came to Canada as a permanent resident in December, 1977 alongside his younger brother and his mother. Dev and his family had a long journey to come to Canada- their plane came from New Delhi and first stopped in Tokyo, then San Francisco, and finally Calgary where they made their 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 which allowed him 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 they 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 because of a change in immigration laws. The couple were married in Canada via a court marriage and celebrated with three parties afterwards. When the couple were married on April 10, 1981 there was no Gurdwara in Golden and so they celebrated at a hall that was known as the ‘Snow King Castle.’ Dev recalls this hall being used for other purposes during the time as well, 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- with the closest large city being Calgary, Alberta – also not having any South Asian catering services. Dev describes Golden as being a good place to raise a family and notes that his children enjoy living there.