One Canadian Armed Forces regiment decided to break with tradition this year and hold its Remembrance Day service at a Toronto-area Sikh gurdwara.
Approximately 200 soldiers and 500 Sikh community members took part in Sunday’s service at the Gursikh Sabha Canada in Scarborough, Ont.
Canadian soldiers and Toronto-area Sikh community members sit together during a Remembrance Day service at Scarborough's Gursikh Sabha Canada. (Photo: Rob Saroya/Facebook)
“Everybody was just so happy. We were thanking them, they were thanking us,” said Pardeep Singh Nagra, executive director of the Sikh Heritage Museum of Canada and one of the event’s organizers.
Nagra told The Huffington Post Canada that the 7th Toronto Regiment, Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery wanted to change its annual church service and approached the museum for help.
Working with the Gursikh Sabha Canada, the goal was to host a service and curate an exhibit showing the public the Sikh community’s involvement in World War I and II.
The Nov. 6 event marks the first time the 32 Canadian Brigade Group has moved its ceremony from a church to a Sikh gurdwara. But units in Western Canada have previously held Remembrance Day services at a Sikh place of worship.
Remembrance Day service attendees speak with each other outside Scarborough's Gursikh Sabha Canada. (Photo: Sikh Heritage Museum of Canada)
According to a Canadian Armed Forces spokesperson, similar services have been held in Surrey, B.C. since 2010.
Nagra called the service a “proud” Canadian moment. “It continues the whole spirit of equality and inclusiveness,” he said.
Attendees ended the day with a langar — a free communal meal served to everyone who came.