Sucha Singh Sangra

Sucha Singh Sangra was born in 1934 in Rutland, B.C., where his family owned a farm.

Sucha Singh Sangra was born in 1934 in Rutland, B.C., where his family owned a farm. He was the fourth of Banta Singh and Dhan Kaur Sangra's seven children. When Sangra was three years old, his father, who had immigrated to Canada in 1907, took the family back to Punjab to see family matters after Sangra's grandmother and uncle fell victim to the plague that had ravaged parts of India.

Although his father wanted to bring the family back to Canada, the lack of transportation at the time prevented their return and Sangra remained in India, where he would go to school and complete Grade 9 before getting married to Gian Kaur.

His father finally returned to Canada in 1947 only to discover the family's farm had been confiscated by authorities for lack of tax payments by the person who had leased the land.

It wasn't until 1950 that Sucha Sangra himself would return to Canada. This time, with the Rutland farm gone, he joined his two brothers who lived in Youbou on Vancouver Island. Sangra fondly recalls that the three siblings worked in the local sawmill and shared a bunkhouse with 30 to 40 Punjabi co-workers, all of whom, he says, worked hard and were well respected by their Canadian co-workers and bosses.

The employers even hired a cook to prepare Punjabi food for the men who lived in the bunkhouse. In their spare time the men would play soccer and volleyball. In fact, they formed a team and managed to win a trophy or two, he says.

On their days off, they travelled to Paldi, a small town named after a village in India, to visit the Sikh temple.

Then, in 1953, the Sangras once again moved back to India, where they opened an Anglo-Indian restaurant in the heart of Jallandhar. Sangra worked as a cashier in the restaurant.

Sangra returned again to Canada in 1960, this time finding work in a furniture factory in Surrey. Sangra recalls that living alone in rooming houses in Surrey and New Westminster wasn't easy as he missed his brothers and the companionship of the bunkhouse in Youbou. To pass the time, he would go to the movies in New Westminster. He wasn't particular about the movie, commenting that at 25 cents per show, it was cheap enough to watch whatever was playing.

Sangra's wife, Gian Kaur, joined him in Canada in 1963. By the time the couple's only child, their daughter Harjinder, was born in 1964, they had moved to their own home on Lanark Street, where they lived for more than 30 years.