Significant upgrades are coming to Victoria’s Topaz Sikh Gurdwara thanks to a massive $1 million grant from the BC government.
The place of worship first opened on 1210 Topaz Avenue in 1912, and has served as a centre for gathering, prayer, and celebration for thousands of people from different faiths for over a century.
The million dollar grant will be used to improve the building’s accessibility, common areas, main entrances, outdoor decks, and modernize its kitchen facility, which prepares vegetarian lunches for thousands of people from many religions and cultures every year.
“The historic Topaz Sikh Gurdwara is an important part of the Greater Victoria community and provides a welcoming place for people of all faiths,” said Premier John Horgan in a statement.
“In the spirit of Vaisakhi and the Sikh practice of sewa, or selfless community service, this funding will allow the temple to make much-needed upgrades so that it can keep serving thousands of people each year.”
The Sikh Khalsa Diwan Society opened Victoria’s Topaz Gurdwara just one year after the oldest Gurdwara in North America was built in Vancouver in 1911.
The Gurdwara is tied for the second oldest in the continent, with California’s Gurdwara Sahib Stockton being built in the same year.
“The Sikh Khalsa Diwan Society has been providing services to people in Greater Victoria for more than 100 years and we want to help them continue to reach out to everyone,” said Rob Fleming, MLA for Victoria-Swan Lake in a statement.
“The gurdwara is in dire need of upgrades to the facilities and this grant will improve accessibility and ensure it can continue to welcome people from Victoria and around the world.”