Honouring Asa Johal and Balbir Jawanda........by Balwant Sanghera
April 20, 2021: Our pioneers set foot on Canadian soil more than 130 years ago. Since then they have worked very hard in the growth and development of the South Asian community and their adopted country, Canada.
As a result of their struggles and sacrifices, our community has achieved a prominent place in Canada. Due to their efforts, today, our community has become one of the most visible, resilient, generous, and powerful ones in this country.
We owe all of this to those brave, hardworking, visionary trailblazers of our community. India Cultural Centre of Canada Gurdwara Nanak Niwas’ Chairman Asa Singh Johal is one of those respected pioneers.
Asa Singh Johal came to Canada with his parents at a very young age. He started working at age 14. Mr. Johal was keenly interested in the lumber business from an early age.
This prompted him to start his own business. After years of hard work and perseverance, he established himself as a major player in the lumber industry. Eventually, Asa Singh Johal became one of the most prominent lumber barons in this province. His company Terminal Forest Products Ltd. has provided employment to thousands of workers over the years. Not only that, Mr. Johal and his family have donated millions of dollars to a lot of worthwhile causes.
These include Children’s Hospital, Vancouver General Hospital, U.B.C., Richmond Hospital, BC Cancer Society, and many others. The Johal family was kind enough to build an impressive auditorium at Government Girls Secondary School in his native village Jandiala in Jalandhar District. Asa Singh Johal and his family’s contribution to building and supporting the India Cultural Centre of Canada Gurdwara Nanak Niwas on # 5 Road in Richmond has just been amazing.
In view of the growing needs, Gurdwara Nanak Niwas was in need of a bigger kitchen for the Langar Hall. Mr. Johal and his family were kind enough to take care of this huge project. Gurdwara’s long-time active member, former president, and current vice president Balbir Singh Jawanda took on the construction responsibility.
He worked very hard in ensuring that this project was completed in time and on budget. The Gurdwara Management Committee is very thankful to Mr. Johal, his family, and Mr. Balbir Jawanda for this.
On April 11, the Committee honored Mr. Johal, Mrs. Kashmir Kaur Johal, and Mr. Balbir Singh Jawanda with plaques for their ongoing support and dedication in serving this place of worship and our community. Their generosity is very much appreciated.
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