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Vancouver Heritage Foundation Weekly: Punjabi Market

Vancouver Heritage Foundation is a registered charity supporting the conservation of heritage buildings and structures in recognition of their contribution to the city’s economy, sustainability and culture.
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Vancouver Heritage Foundation is a registered charity supporting the conservation of heritage buildings and structures in recognition of their contribution to the city’s economy, sustainability and culture.

Street signs around Punjabi Market, photo courtesy Tourism Vancouver website

Vancouver's Little India or "Punjabi Market" has been known since the 1970s as the centre of the South Asian community. The first Indo-Canadian immigrants from Punjab landed in Vancouver around 1890. They settled in Kitsilano near First Avenue and Burrard Street working in lumber mills and at construction sites throughout the Lower Mainland. Vancouver Heritage Foundation's  Places That Matter plaque presentation #32 celebrated the First Sikh Temple (1908) on West 2nd Avenue off Burrard, the predecessor to the more well-known Erickson-designed Ross St. Temple of 1970.

We'll be celebrating the history of Punjabi Market with the community at the biggest event of the year "Vaisakhi Day" this Saturday, April 13th Occurring mid-April every year in the Sikh faith, it is associated with the harvesting of crops for the year and is a joyous religious occasion celebrated since 1699. It commemorates the creation of the Khalsa (baptism). Join us during the Vaisakhi Day Parade and Festivities centered around 49th Ave and Main St.  The plaque presentation will be on the Punjabi Market stage between 12pm-1pm. Follow us on twitter for the latest tweets!

Expect large crowds and limited parking. All are welcome. Parade Route: The parade starts at 11am at the Ross Street Temple (8000 Ross St at 64th), moves south on Ross Street to SE Marine Drive, then west to Main Street, north to 49th Avenue, east to Fraser Street, south to 57th Avenue, east to Ross Street and then returns to the Temple.

"Since the first shop opened in 1970, the commercial area on Main Street between 48th and 51st Avenues has been home to the Punjabi Market, the first in Western Canada. With the growth of the South Asian community in South Vancouver, Punjabi Market quickly became the heartbeat of the neighbourhood. More than just a market, the community of shops, restaurants and grocery stores provides a connection to homelands across South Asia and a place to learn more about these diasporas in Vancouver.

Every year tens of thousands of people congregate in the Punjabi Market to celebrate the Vaisakhi Parade, one of Vancouver’s landmark events."

(Text from the Places That Matter plaque which will be installed at All India Sweets shop 49th and Main St.)

Mmmm samoas from All India Sweets (website)

Click to read two recent articles on the current state of Punjabi Market from the Vancouver Sun and The Thunderbird

Vancouver Sun 49th Ave photo of the Vaisakhi Day Parade from April 16th, 2011.