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   Highway to Heaven and a related film showing at #5 Road Gurdwara on Saturday
This film was entered into the Toronto and Vancouver International Film Festivals

Los Angeles, February 21, 2020 A.Gary Singh
/ Balwant Sanghera

Richmond’s Highway to Heaven (H2H) is a very unique place. This small stretch of Number Five Road in Richmond has more than 20 places of worship of different religious denominations. India Cultural Centre of Canada Gurdwara Nanak Niwas was the first place of worship to be built on this road in 1985. This was followed by others. About fifteen years ago, as president of Richmond Multicultural Community Services (RMCS), I sent one of our staff members to do an inventory of all of the places of worship along Number Five Road. As a result of that, I wrote an article in our local newspaper, Richmond Review, and named this stretch of the road as Our Highway to Heaven. The name caught on with the public and media. Since then it has become popular all over. A few years ago on a national poll, H2H was ranked as one of the top 50 places of special interest in Canada.

Individuals and groups, especially students from all over the province and across Canada come to visit H2H. In view of the importance and interest in the H2H, a number of interested stakeholders along the H2H got to-gether and formed an association called Highway to Heaven Association (H2HA) and I was elected/acclaimed its Chairperson. Since its formation, members of the H2HA meet occasionally to discuss issues of common interest and support each other. For the past four years, H2HA has participated in the annual Steveston Salmonfest Canada Day Parade with a float decorated with banners of each of its partners. About three years ago, BBC did a story on H2H that went viral. In early November 2017, I was approached by officials from Global Affairs Canada in Ottawa with a request. They informed me that 13 United Nations Ambassadors from New York were coming to Vancouver to attend a conference on Peace and Defence. They had heard about our H2H and were interested in visiting us.

 All of us were very excited to welcome them and hosted them at India Cultural centre of Canada Gurdwara Nanak Niwas. They thoroughly enjoyed our hospitality and discussion. Two of our members – both educators -explained to the Ambassadors what makes us tick. They were very impressed with our presentations and profusely thanked and commended us. Soon after that, National Film Board of Canada undertook a project to prepare a short film about H2H. This film was entered into the Toronto and Vancouver International Film Festivals. Filmmaker Sandra Ignagni has “merged beautiful, carefully framed images with a symphonic soundscape that illuminates the lives of the faithful.”  The film was shown at the #5 Road Gurdwara to a very interested and captive audience on Saturday, February 15. The picture shows a part of the audience keenly watching the film.


Balwant Sanghera