Gurdial Narwan


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

Gurdial Narwan was born in the village of Patara, Jalandhar in Punjab, India on March 20, 1958. Gurdial was able to move to Canada because her aunt sponsored her and her family. In 1974, Gurdial came to Canada with her mom and her four siblings. Her father and two brothers came to Canada earlier. When Gurdial landed in Canada, her uncle came to pick her and her family from the airport and took them to his house in Kelowna. When Gurdial first looked outside, she couldn’t believe that everyone had white coloured skin. She started asking herself why was she different compared to them. Eventually, she realized that it was because she had a different nationality than them. Within one or two weeks, Gurdial and her family had to find jobs because her uncle couldn’t financially support them. Her father and brother started working at a farm in Kelowna. After that, her father found a job in Golden, BC and they settled down.

Gurdial and her family faced many difficulties while trying to adjust to this new lifestyle. Speaking English was one of them. They struggled a lot whenever they had to fill out any paperwork. Initially, they didn’t have any money but gradually they rented a house and bought their own house. In 1977, Gurdial got married even though she didn’t want to as she wanted to go to school and receive an education. She had to get married because her father’s sister wasn’t financially stable and he wanted her to come to Canada. When she married her father’s sister’s brother-in-law, she told her husband that she wanted to complete her education. Three years later, when Gurdial was pregnant with her eldest daughter, she started going to school. When she was finishing her grade 11 year, her daughter was born. Gurdial’s mother-in-law came to Canada and took care of her daughter while she finished her education. In 1976, her father also faced many difficulties when he was trying to find a job. He wore a turban and had a beard. Since her father was starting to look old, no one wanted to hire him. In order to make himself look younger, her father resorted to cutting his hair and shaving his beard. After doing this, he finally found a job at a mill.

According to Gurdial, the Punjabi community prospered a lot. When Gurdial was getting married, there were no gurdwara’s (Sikh Temple) to get married in so she didn’t have a traditional Sikh Wedding. She had to borrow someone else’s lengha (wedding dress) and there was only one jewelry store in Vancouver so her father bought her some jewelry to wear at her wedding.