Harchet Hari

Accompanied by his grandmother, Hari began his journey to Canada from Calcutta by traveling aboard a freighter.

His mother and father had already successfully settled into a new life in Calgary from their previous one in the Punjab when they decided it was time for their young son to join them. The year was 1932 and Harchet Hari was seven years old. Accompanied by his grandmother, Hari began his journey to Canada from Calcutta by traveling aboard a freighter. When the pair docked in Vancouver, they took a train to Calgary, where Hari's parents and grandfather operated a small farm.

"No," Hari recalls, when asked if there were many Indian families living in Calgary when he arrived in 1932. "There was only our family and one other family. We used to go visit them and they would visit us."

"I worked on the farm. We had a tractor, some cattle and grain. After the war broke out, it was pretty hard to get help to work on the farm so I had to quit school in Grade 8 and start helping out on the farm.

"In 1946, my father and a friend bought a sawmill in Mission, B.C. Then me and my brother got a couple of trucks and started hauling lumber from the sawmill. We did that for a few years. Then in 1950 my dad and mother figured both me and my brother were old enough to get married so they took us back to India to get married, which we did.

"We came back to B.C. in 1950 and worked in the mill for a while. Then the mill burned down. Then my brother, mother and everyone went back to India. But I stayed here and worked in the sawmills until I retired."