Highway to Heaven Dialogue
Surrey, Vancouver, Sep. 15, 2013
Richmond is a great model of multiculturalism. This culturally diverse community is very proud of its intercultural harmony. Our No. 5 Road is home to more than twenty prominent places of worship. Some of the world’s top religions - Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism – are well represented on this Highway to Heaven. Its myriad of very impressive mosque, gurdwara, churches, temples, pagodas and religious schools is a true reflection of the Canadian Mosaic.
This Highway to Heaven is a great attribute to Richmond’s respect for diverse cultures and faiths. To their credit, City of Richmond, Richmond School District and various other agencies are doing an excellent job in promoting mutual understanding and intercultural harmony. In a sense, it is a total community effort to create such an environment. A few years ago, CBC conducted a poll of Canada’s Wonders. Out of 25,000 entries, our Highway to Heaven made the cut as one of the final 52 nominees. This is a great tribute to the City of Richmond and its citizens.
In addition to adults of all ages, the Highway to Heaven is a favourite field trip destination for adults and children alike. Students and teachers from all over consider a tour of the No. 5 Road as a valuable learning experience. India Cultural Centre of Canada, home of Gurdwara Nanak Niwas, has the honour of being the first place of worship built on this Road almost 27 years ago. Since then it has taken the lead to bring to-gether representatives of various places of worship along this unique strip of the road. It has been serving as a central gathering place for its neighbouring places of worship. The latest get together took place on Wednesday, September 11.
The meeting included representatives of most of the places of worship along #5 Road as well as Mayor Malcom Brodie and Councilors Harold Steves, Derek Dang, Linda Barnes and Linda McPhail. Also, India Cultural Centre’s chairman, Asa Johal as well as key members of the executive graced the occasion. The meeting, following a delicious vegetarian lunch hosted by the Gurdwara, was very amicable. The backlands, possibility of joint seniors’ long term care facility as well as celebrating the religious diversity along the Highway to Heaven were some of the issues discussed. It was a very pleasant environment which spoke volumes of the spirit of co-operation between the City of Richmond and the diversity of religious institutions all along this unique special Wonder of Canada. Dialogues like this go a long way in bringing the community closer to-gether.
(Balwant Sanghera is a retired School Psychologist and Community Activist)