Surrey Khalsa Day parade organizer is fuelled by faith

Published: April 16, 2014


Gian Singh Gill

Behind the thousands of volunteers preparing the largest Vaisakhi event outside of India is the gentle guiding hand of Gian Singh Gill.

Gian Singh Gill is a man fuelled by his faith.

Known for his gentle demeanour, the towering Gill is the President of Dasmesh Darbar Sikh Temple in Surrey and the man behind the city’s mammoth Khalsa Day parade which attracts over 200,000 people annually.

For days prior to Vaisakhi, thousands of volunteers work feverishly to prepare the thousands of pounds of food which will be given away for free during the event. At a single stall alone, up to five hundred kilograms of cooked chickpeas or curried vegetables may be given out. Multiply that by over 100 stalls and it’s easy to understand how sold quanititie of flour, milk, and sugar spike during the month of April by multiples of tonnes in the Surrey area.

Yet walking through the throngs of people at Gurdwara Sahib Dasmesh Darbar, Gill is an image of serenity, completely unfazed by all the moving parts.

Related Stories:

He inspects the shimmering golden float that will carry the Guru Granth Sahib, Sikh Holy Book. Strewn around the giant float on the ground are dozens of floral arrangements that will adorn the most important vehicle in the parade.

“Volunteers will soon have this float prepared for the Guru,” he said as the feverish preparations were underway. “The local Sikh community donates everything. They provide money, clothing, food and their time to make the whole event a success.”

As President, Gill is constantly moving from one meeting to the next. And when not providing guidance to a colleague in person, he is on the phone consulting with the many stakeholders in the event.

“We plan the parade with the help of City of Surrey, RCMP, Canadian Armed Forces, Fraser Health Authority and thousands of volunteers,” he says. “Everyone’s input is valued.”

This is evident in the temple dining room where a representative of Fraser Health has established a booth where food vendors can apply for permits to offer free food and beverages at the parade.

Gill was born in the village of Moga in the province of Punjab. His parents had six sons and three daughters, and when their son showed a special interest in religion he travelled to the ancient Indian city of Varanasi on the banks of the Ganges where he studied Sanskrit for 12 years.

Fast forward 35 years and that religious education has become the basis of Gill’s presidency of Dasmesh Darbar. In addition to the chief executive role he has held for four years, the 57 year-old husband and father of two has worked as a mill worker at the Richmond Plywood Corporation since 1991.

He and his wife also own the Kwantlen Square Laundrymat – although Mrs. Gill generously allows her husband special dispensation to attend to his other two jobs.

“I’m very happy as a volunteer,” he said, “I get to deal with different people every day – especially the next generation of Sikhs.”

This content is produced as part of a joint venture between and the South Asian Post.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,



A new mayor is coming to Surrey, but don’t forget about councillors

SFU prof stresses importance of electing councillors who will push for the Surrey you want AMY REID SURREY NOW SURREY — With incumbent Mayor Dianne…
Continue Reading »


Salaam Bombay: Gluten free Indian cuisine

SAMANTHA MCLEOD THE PROVINCE  Salam Bombay: Salaam to the classiest and cleanest side of Bombay, right here in Vancouver! You know when you’re watching an Indian movie…
Continue Reading »

CBC-sexual behaviour-lawsuit

Jian Ghomeshi bails on Prince George appearance on Nov. 7

THE CANADIAN PRESS PRINCE GEORGE — Embattled former “Q” radio host Jian Ghomeshi has pulled out of a speaking engagement organized by the Prince George…
Continue Reading »


Today in History – Nov. 15

Advance THE CANADIAN PRESS Today in History for Nov. 15: On this date: In 1280, German theologian and music theorist Albertus Magnus died. Magnus taught…
Continue Reading »

Today in History – Nov. 13

Advance THE CANADIAN PRESS Today in History for Nov. 13: On this date: In 354, African theologian Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, was born in Numidia,…
Continue Reading »

Today in History – Nov. 12

Advance THE CANADIAN PRESS Today in History for Nov. 12: On this date: In 1774, British citizens in Quebec protested the Quebec Act which restored…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

health check

Parents of six-year-old girl ‘horrified’ after botched vaccination exposes her to HIV

GORDON MCINTYRE VANCOUVER DESI A six-year-old girl is in danger of having contacted HIV after a routine vaccination went awry in Fort St. James earlier…
Continue Reading »

ghost marriage

11 held for digging women’s graves for ‘ghost marriages’

IANS/EFE Beijing – Chinese police have arrested 11 people for allegedly digging up dead women’s bodies from their graves to sell them for rituals known…
Continue Reading »

Jian Ghomeshi

‘Big Ears Teddy’ Twitter account posted Jian Ghomeshi abuse allegations six months ago

ISHMAEL N. DARO CANADA.COM In less than a week, Jian Ghomeshi has gone from one of the most well-known and beloved CBC personalities to an…
Continue Reading »


Battleground Surrey: Which mayoral candidate can stop the carnage?

CASSIDY OLIVIER VANCOUVER DESI The streets leading to the Newton Arena are littered with debris from the previous night’s storm. Overflow from the downpour swiftly…
Continue Reading »

Smart 21 communities

Surrey named among World’s Smart21 Communities of 2015

VANCOUVER DESI SURREY, B.C. – The Intelligent Community Forum has named the City of Surrey as one of the world’s Smart21 Communities of 2015. As one…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood Latest

Bollywood movie Fireflies

Fireflies: Sincerely done; good looking film

SUBHASH K. JHA IANS  Film: “Fireflies”; Cast: Rahul Khanna, Arjun Mathur, Monica Dogra, Shivani Ghai, Aadya Bedi; Writer-Director: Sabal Singh Shekhawat; Rating: *** 1/2 Things…
Continue Reading »

Ismaili musicians - Aga Khan foundation

Salim-Sulaiman show underlines Vancouver’s rising Bollywood cachet

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI With big-time Bollywood composers Salim-Sulaiman set to kick off their North American tour at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on Saturday, it…
Continue Reading »

Shah Rukh Khan

Burdwan blast: Shah Rukh Khan prays for better times for Bengal

IANS Kolkata – Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, West Bengal’s brand ambassador, Wednesday expressed his unwillingness to talk about the terror blast in Burdwan, but…
Continue Reading »