Date of Birth:
Village Tallan, Punjab
Ranjit Singh Jassi was born in the village Tallan in Punjab, India on May 7, 1946. Initially Ranjit migrated to England, however, he later moved to Canada as a permanent resident on December 19, 1974. Ranjit’s first memory of Canada was that it was very cold compared to England. Ranjit’s brother picked him up from the airport in Calgary, AB and went to Vernon, BC on a bus and lived in Vernon for about two months. In January of 1955, he started working at the CPR in Golden, BC. He found life here much more difficult than it was in London because he said there was a lot of easy work at factories in London compared to Canada which was very cold and subsequently the work was difficult.
Since the gurdwara (Sikh Temple) was built in 1980, life before that was very different. In order for weddings to be conducted, the Holy Book (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji) was brought in from Kamloops, BC. The weddings were held at a banquet hall called the Logan Hall. Ranjit and other members of the Sikh community sang religious hymns at the banquet hall and everyone used to also go there to watch Punjabi movies as there weren’t any Punjabi channels on TV at that time. There also weren’t any Punjabi grocery stores either apart from one small shop in Vancouver.
Ranjit quit working at the CPR and started working at the Donald Mill in 1976 where he would continue to work for the next two years. After that his brother told him to move to Vernon as their whole family lived there. At the time he was a lumber grader here and since he had already had a ticket, they gave him a job. He lived in Vernon for one year after which he was laid off. The company then asked him if he wanted to return back to work. After a year, he came back to Golden. Ranjit visited India twice since he moved to Canada. According to Ranjit’s experiences, life was very difficult during that time because everyone was new to this country and so they were all struggling to survive. In the beginning, Ranjit didn’t know that there were many different nationalities living in Canada. He thought that there were only European descent people living here and later he learned that there were different types of people living in Canada, just like him. Ranjit says that that he will always miss India because he was born and raised there, but he moved to Canada for a better life.