Kirpal Singh Minhas
Village Padhiana, West Punjab
Prince George, BC
Kirpal Singh Minhas was born in village Padhiana, Pakistan. He came to Canada on December 6, 1969 as a visitor and later became a permanent resident. He had a degree in Mechanical Engineering and a diploma in Accounting. He wanted to experience living in Canada as he was motivated by his father in-law who had lived in Canada for quite a long time. He travelled to Canada by sea from Bombay. He remembers that it was a 14 day journey and he had missed his bus connection to Istanbul, Turkey. So he travelled in Iraq and visited Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s house there. After this, he took a train to Istanbul and then reached Munich, where he spent 25 days and worked as a labourer in a German market. He faced difficulties there as his resources, including money to sustain himself, were depleting. He sent a letter to his wife and mother-in-law and this prompted his father-in-law, who was residing in Canada, to send him a sponsorship letter.
After receiving the sponsorship he travelled to Quebec, Canada from Paris, France. Not knowing that he had booked his ticket to Quebec rather than Vancouver, Kirpal landed in Quebec in 1969. The immigration officer gave him a visitor visa for 2 months and he took the flight from Quebec to Vancouver. There was an incident on his flight where he got off at the wrong airport, that is, Calgary rather than Vancouver. However, the confusion was cleared and he reached Vancouver on December 6, 1969, where Kirpal was received by his aunt.
On February 12, 1970, Kirpal applied for his permanent residency and he was able to obtain this because of his qualifications. He recalls that there were only a few Punjabis and Sikhs in the area who wore a turban at that time. He found Canada’s environment quite clean and decided to live here. Upon getting his work permit, Kirpal got a job in the mill in Prince Rupert as his father-in-law knew someone at that mill. He worked there for two months and lived in the bunk house of the mill. However, he was laid off after two months, so he moved to Abbotsford to join his father-in-law’s younger brother at a farm. He picked berries at farms in Abbotsford but found it a very difficult job.
Later, Kirpal applied for a job in the mill in Houston, BC and was hired there. He worked there for twenty-eight years and then retired. During that time, he called his wife and children (one daughter and one son) to live with him in Canada. His wife and children lived in Vancouver with his aunt for some time and also lived with his father-in-law’s brother in Clearwater. He later asked them to join him in Prince Rupert, where his son also started working in the mill.
Kirpal has been to India seven times since his arrival in Canada. Kirpal moved to Houston, BC, bought a house and raised his children there. According to Kirpal, the presence of his relatives and father-in-law made settling easy for him in Canada.