I wore a blue wedding gown when I was married at the Sikh temple on 2nd Avenue in 1951. Most of the girls in those days got married in dresses. My dad didn’t want me to wear white because they used to think that white was a mourning color, so I wore a light-blue formal gown.
“For about 15 years I did modelling for classes at the Vancouver School of Art. I used to model in a sari because the students liked the draping of the sari. I would be really stared at when I would go from the art school to Eaton's or to The Bay for lunch. That was in the ‘50s, when you hardly ever saw people wearing any Indian clothes, especially a sari. Everybody would be oohing and aahing at me because the sari was so beautiful.”
“Growing up, I never heard any racist comments. I don’t think I heard any racist names until about the ‘70s. I remember one time I was sitting with some friends in a restaurant in Vancouver. We were speaking Punjabi and the people in the next booth turned around and started swearing at us and saying, ‘Why the hell don’t you go back to your own country?’ We took them to court for that. There were lots of witnesses and everybody knew they were at fault. They started fighting with us for speaking in our own language. We were in the right and they got charged.”
Ranjit Burns was born at Vancouver General Hospital on February 14, 1934. She grew up in the city of Vancouver, where she attended Henry Hudson Elementary School. In 1951, she married Gurdas Singh Burns and the couple went on to raise four children.