The new heritage storyboard at R.A. Nicholson on 75A Ave., Surrey. (submitted photo)

The new heritage storyboard at R.A. Nicholson on 75A Ave., Surrey. (submitted photo)

HISTORY

‘Clear example of racism’: Story of stranded ship passengers told on new storyboard in Surrey

The ‘Komagata Maru’ arrived in Vancouver from Hong Kong on May 23, 1914, carrying 376 passengers

A history lesson about the Komagata Maru incident now has a permanent home in a Surrey park.

The story of the ship and its stranded passengers is told in a new heritage storyboard installed at R.A. Nicholson Park on 75A Avenue, in the Strawberry Hill area of Newton.

The storyboard, among 50 such heritage signs at locations across Surrey, is part of work by the Surrey Heritage Advisory Commission to shed light on the Komagata Maru’s troubles in Vancouver more than 100 years ago.

Raj Singh Toor, grandson of a passenger aboard the ship, called the storyboard “a good learning tool” to inform Surrey residents of this dark bit of history.

“We can’t undo the past, but we can move forward and leave a legacy for future generations by educating them about the past,” Toor said.

The Komagata Maru arrived in Vancouver from Hong Kong on May 23, 1914, carrying 376 passengers, according to an account posted to komagatamarujourney.ca. Most of the passengers were immigrants from the Punjab region in what was then British India.

The hundreds of passengers, according to thecanadianencyclopedia.ca, were not allowed on shore. For two months, they remained in the waters outside of Vancouver.

The storyboard calls the Komagata Maru incident “a clear example of racism from Canada’s past.

“For years leading up to 1914, the Canadian Government actively restricted immigration to Canada from India and Asia, favouring immigrants of European descent. These policies were deliberately exclusionary. Today, Surrey’s South Asian population is about 1/3 of the City’s total population, while 43% of Surrey residents are immigrants (2016 Census).”

Placed on the pedestrian path behind Strawberry Hill Hall, the new storyboard is located not far from Jarnail Singh’s Komagata Maru mural and commemorative street signs on 75A Avenue.

Notes the sign: “This storyboard, commemorative street signs, and the existing Komagata Maru mural encourage residents to reflect on this moment in Canadian history, and the systemic racism experienced by many Surrey residents in the past and present.”

• READ MORE: Surrey unveils Komagata Maru Way signs.

ALSO: Formal apology for Komagata Maru kin, from 2016.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Thomas Dawson Peacock
Surrey man, 32, charged with sexual interference

Incidents alleged to have happened in Surrey and Abbotsford

A Mercedes SUV is covered at a gas station in the Clayton area following a deadly shooting there on Sept. 28, 2019. (File photo)
(Delta Police Department photo)
No offence in second incident involving a teen girl being approached in Tsawwassen: police

Police still investigating incident on Oct. 15 where teen girl was approached by older man in a burgundy car

A overview concept drawing of the Central District and its City Plaza, Gateway and Kennedy Heights neighbourhoods included in the Mayor’s Housing Task Force for Scott Road report. (City of Delta photo)
Walkable mixed-use neighbourhoods focus of task force’s vision for Scott Road

Report by Mayor’s Housing Task Force for Scott Road was presented to Delta council on Monday

The number of new COVID-19 cases has risen sharply in Vancouver and the Fraser North region over the last week.
Chart: Tyler Olsen
CHARTS: Weekly COVID-19 case double in Fraser North health area, up 50% in Vancouver

The number of new COVID-19 cases has risen sharply in Vancouver and the Fraser North region.

Over the years, Janice Blackie-Goodine’s home in Summerland has featured elaborate Halloween displays and decorations each October. (File photo)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about Halloween?

Oct. 31 is a night of frights. How much do you know about Halloween customs and traditions?

This house at 414 Royal Ave. became notorious for its residents’ and visitors’ penchant for attracting police. It was also the site of a gruesome torture in August 2018. It was demolished in 2019. KTW
6-year sentence for Kamloops man who helped carve ‘rat’ into flesh of fellow gang member

Ricky Dennis was one of three men involved in the August 2018 attack

Among the pumpkin carvings created this year by Rick Chong of Abbotsford is this tribute to fallen officer Cont. Allan Young.
Abbotsford pumpkin carver’s creations include fallen police officer

Rick Chong carves and displays 30 pumpkins every year

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

An online fundraising campaign in support of the six-year-old boy, Edgar Colby, who was hit by a car on Range Road Oct. 25 has raised more than $62,000 in a day. (Submitted)
$62K raised in 1 day for boy in coma at BC Children’s after being hit by vehicle in Yukon

The boy’s aunt says the family is “very grateful” for the support they’ve received from the community

The Excelsior 4 are set to make their second court appearance in Abbotsford on Monday (Nov. 2). (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
‘Excelsior 4’: Animal activists set to enter not guilty plea in Abbotsford hog farm case

Animal rights activists expected to plead not guilty to charges, protest for Vancouver scheduled

Dennis Cholowski shows off a Jordan 2 Retro Just Don Blue sneaker, the type of shoe only a true sneakerhead would appreciate. (Facebook photo)
VIDEO: Chilliwack Chiefs alum Dennis Cholowski shows off ‘sneakerhead’ collection

The Detroit Red Wing has been spending his NHL paycheques building up an impressive closet of shoes

Health care employees take extensive precautions when working with people infected or suspected of having COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
WorkSafeBC disallows majority of COVID-19 job injury claims

Health care, social services employees filing the most claims

Vancouver Symphony Orchestra Maestro Otto Tausk. (Photo: vancouversymphony.ca)
50/50 lotto players buck up for Metro Vancouver musicians hit hard by COVID

‘Rapidly growing jackpot’ for VSO’s 50/50 draw as they go online with TheConcertHall.ca

Most Read