Highlights from the Awards Gala
100 Year Journey Awards Gala is a convening platform where powerful stories, spanning over a century, are shared and some amazing people are recognized. This year was no different, rather special, because this year we have embarked on a special initiative with 100 Year Journey Leadership Network, whereby best and the brightest people across disciplines will join forces to inspire and guide tomorrow’s leaders.
Not just this, 100 Year Journey project collaborated with the RCMP and Surrey School district, to undertake Next 100 Year Journey program, to leverage the material for guidance and inspiration for our youth. The Next 100 Year Mentorship Project is an initiative to bring the inspiration of our stories, the inspiration of our people, into school classrooms.
Amongst these imperative presentations, there wasn't any dearth of entertainment. We had a very unique act performed by Virgil Chorlet - a world class artist and a laugh riot by incredibly funny - Sukh Ojla.
This Queen of Punjabi cinema was born and raised in Canada. At a young age, she was inspired by the glamour of Bollywood and moved to Mumbai to pursue her dreams. She is a four times PTC Punjabi Film Awards winner and has appeared in Punjabi films, Hindi films and television serials, with leading roles in successful films such as Munde UK De, Sardar Ji, and Jatt and Juliet.
Fueled by her passion and hardwork, she continues to deliver quality films and performances which have led to her reign as the top actress in Punjabi Cinema for over 20 years. Hers is name homegrown — a product of Canada — that now reverberates around the world. She is an inspiration to many, as an accomplished actress and as a genuine human being.
Bhai Balwant Singh
He played an important role in establishing the first Sikh Temple of North America in Canada on West 2nd Avenue Vancouver and was appointed the first Granthi in 1908. This man was a revolutionary that fought for the rights of Indians settling in Canada. He was the ONE who challenged the Canadian immigration rules and paved the way for the entry of Indians in Canada by migrating his family over in 1911. He also played a significant role in creating awareness amongst Indians back home about the atrocities being faced in Canada. He led a delegation to various parts of the world, including Britain, France and Afghanistan. Later, the delegation also travelled to Lahore, Ambala and Punjab.
He fought the legal battle for four of the Komagata Maru passengers and even went to jail when he was caught buying weapons, including pistols for the passengers to defend themselves. On returning home during the First World War, he became very active in various revolutionary activities and was finally arrested in 1913. He was one of the martyrs of the Ghadar Party and was hanged by the British Indian government in a Lahore jail in 1917.
Bhai Balwant Singh's granddaughter received the award on his behalf.
Jab Sidhoo was born in Punjab in 1923. In 1927, his father came to Canada and worked at the Kapoor sawmill on Vancouver Island. At 7, he was sent to join his father in Canada where he attended the one room schoolhouse. He witnessed his Father pursue the federal right to vote, and with the International Woodworkers of America union, take the fight to the steps of the BC legislature. His father’s activism would later influence his own activism and philanthropy. In 1939, this man enrolled at the Vancouver Technical High School. A turning point in his life came when he was selected to join the Canadian Air Force during World War II. Though he didn’t have the right to vote, he was proud to serve his country.
After the war, Jab returned to Vancouver and developed an interest in imported, handcrafted carpets that took him to India. This is where he met his future wife Nirmal Dutt, whose passions would influence him to become a supporter of the arts. Back in Vancouver, he opened East India Carpets, and started a family. Over the years, the store became a vital part of the South Asian community in Kitsilano. As Jab’s business thrived, he became known for being hard-working, creative and generous - these are the qualities that embody Jab Sidhoo whose life and legacy are an inspiration to us all.
Jab's son Ravi Sidhoo, daughter-in-law Sandy Garossino and daughter Asha Fraser received his award.
Sapuran Singh Sundher (Spoony Singh)
He was one of four children born in Jalandhar, Punjab and migrated to Victoria, BC in 1924. He attended Quadra Elementary where classmates gave him a nickname that would stick for the rest of his life. He worked in a shingle mill and eventually earned enough money to open a sawmill in Esquimalt and a logging camp near Port Alberni and even an amusement park.
In 1964, he was approached by investors who were interested in opening a wax museum in the United States. He went on a two-week scouting trip to Los Angeles where he toured famous attractions on Hollywood Boulevard devoted to celebrities. After realizing that he had not seen any actual celebrities at these attractions, he decided to create a place where fans could see them anytime, the Hollywood Wax Museum. This museum opened on February 25th, 1965 on Hollywood Boulevard and featured wax replicas of celebrities and historical figures.
This man became something of a celebrity in the local Hollywood community. His ever-present turban, Nehru jacket, full beard, and penchant for flamboyant showmanship made him a well known personality in his own right.
Due to an unforeseen happening, the family couldn't come and receive the award and we collected it on their behalf.
Our pioneers are those who were responsible for SO MANY firsts — this person was the first of many, over and over again.
Born and raised in Nairobi in 1946, she graduated from the University of New Delhi and moved to London, where she received her broadcast training with the BBC. She began building her name as a BBC broadcaster, by chatting up Mick Jagger and taking on Jimi Hendrix about a controversial album cover that portrayed him as a Hindu god. Her many successes include launching the world's first 24-hour South Asian radio station outside of India called Radio Rim Jhim in 1987 and in 2005, she became the first Canadian woman to be granted a license by the CRTC to launch RJ 1200, a station dedicated to news and entertainment for South Asians.
She has yielded dozens of prestigious awards including the Order of British Columbia (1992), and the Queen's Golden Jubilee Commemorative Medal (1993). She continues to be a powerful voice producing quality programming on politics, religion and a spectrum of issues that impact both the South Asian community, and the greater community.
An entrepreneurial trailblazer, his contributions to Canadian Punjabi music and to ethnic radio broadcasting have earned him distinction. Awarded The Business Person of the Year by the Surrey Board of Trade, he was listed in “The Top 100 Influential Indo-Canadians” by the Vancouver Sun and received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.
In 1997, he created Music Waves Productions to fill gaps in the local music industry — now with an impressive catalogue of more than 300 albums, producing a national TV program called Des Pardes for over 20 years and launching many impressive careers such as Lakhwinder Wadali, Sarbjit Cheema, Debi Makhsoospuri and worked with Amrinder Gill, Jazzy B, Harbhajan Mann, Malkit Singh and many more.
He is the President of RED FM group of radio stations in Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto.
Pinki Gosal, Monal Patel, Priti Patel and Gargi Patel
More than 20 years ago this group of powerful women began their journey… when four women, three siblings and one childhood friend, were inspired by the simple question “why doesn’t make-up look good on me?”. In 1998 they founded a company that was as a result of not being able to find beauty products that worked on “certain” skin tones. There was a lack of choice, and visiting makeup counters was intimidating. This motivated them to give beauty a happier meaning, and they have not looked back since.
In an industry dominated by big-name beauty companies, they have broken down boundaries and proven to be a worthy contender in the highly competitive world of makeup and skincare.