Gurtej Sandhu

Date of Birth:
Village Moron, Punjab
Current City:
Golden, BC

Gurtej Kaur Sandhu was born in 1952 in the village of Morran in Punjab, India. She came to Canada on November 21, 1977 and lived in Surrey, BC for fifteen years. Before coming to Canada, Gurtej had lived in England as a permanent resident for fifteen months with her husband; however, her husband was unable to find a job there so they moved to Canada. When Gurtej first came to Canada, she did not like it due to the cold winters.

From 1980 to 1986, Gurtej worked and made a living. Shortly after, she started her own corner store business in Chilliwack, BC, running it for four and a half years. In 1992, she moved to Alberta and worked as an assistant manager until 2010 with the same company. She also worked in Vancouver, BC making t-shirts and jackets for seven years.

When Gurtej first came to Canada in 1977, there was a lot of discrimination because there were only 10 -12 Punjabi families in the areas she lived. She remembers one incident in particular very clearly, when she had gone to McDonald’s with her family. She recalled that despite the fact that they were all wearing Canadian clothing and spoke English well, they were made fun of. Since there weren’t many Punjabi families, there weren’t many Punjabi grocery stores either. Additionally, there was no gurdwara in Surrey and so Gurtej and the rest of the Punjabi community had to go to the gurdwara in Vancouver. However, when the Nanaksar Gurdwara was built, everyone started to go there instead.

Gurtej wants to convey the message to her community that the Punjabi community should not get jealous of one another and rather they should take care of one another.