Bringing the story of the Komagata Maru to life - Government of Canada funds project to commemorate 100th anniversary of the incident

MISSISSAUGA, ON, June 6, 2014 /CNW/ - A powerful and visually engaging exhibit commemorating the 100th anniversary of the voyage of the Komagata Maru and exploring the contributions of Sikh immigrants to Canada will soon be displayed across the country, thanks to support from the Government of Canada.

Tim Uppal, Minister of State (Multiculturalism), announced Inter-Action funding of up to $89,500 for the Sikh Heritage Museum of Canada (SHMC) to create the "Lions of the Sea" exhibit.

The national exhibition with original artifacts made available by the SHMC will travel across Canada, bringing the story of the Komagata Maru to life and allowing Canadians from coast to coast to learn about its historical significance.

Once completed, this exhibition will be made available to schools, libraries and places of worship across Canada.

Quick facts

  • The Komagata Maru arrived in Vancouver harbour in 1914 carrying 376 passengers of Indian descent, most of whom were not allowed to land. This was because the ship did not make a direct journey to Canada, as prescribed by Canada's Continuous Journeys clause, which was in place at the time. After two months under difficult conditions, the ship and most of its passengers were forced to return to India where, in a subsequent clash with British soldiers, 19 passengers died.
  • In May 2008, the Government of Canada passed a unanimous motion in the House of Commons, recognizing the Komagata Maru incident and apologizing to those who were directly affected. On August 3, 2008, Prime Minister Harper conveyed that apology to the Indo-Canadian community in Surrey, BC.
  • Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has provided previous funding, through the Community Historical Recognition Program (CHRP), toward a number of projects that recognize and raise awareness of the Komagata Maru. For example, the Khalsa Diwan Society received a total of $1.4 million for the development of two projects, a monument and a museum which commemorate the Komagata Maru incident.


"The story of the Komagata Maru is a tragic moment in Canada's history, and the lessons we have learned from it should be remembered by all Canadians. Through our government's support for this project, we are recognizing Canada's past and helping educate Canadians on the Komagata Maru incident to ensure that tragedies like this do not occur again."

Tim Uppal, Minister of State (Multiculturalism)

"The Sikh Heritage Museum of Canada is proud to take the lead to share the story of the Komagata Maru with all Canadians. From being barred by the tug boat Sea Lion, to being courageous "Lions of the Sea," the remarkable story of the primarily Sikh passengers on the Komagata Maru will come to life with a national exhibition and lecture series. As we celebrate the 100th anniversary of this legacy, the support from the Government of Canada will enable the Sikh Heritage Museum of Canada to engage this historical Canadian story across our beautiful country."

Pardeep Singh Nagra, Executive Director, Sikh Heritage Museum of Canada

Related product

Learning from Canada's Past

Associated links

Inter-Action: Multiculturalism Grants and Contributions Funding

Commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Komagata Maru incident

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SOURCE: Citizenship and Immigration Canada

For further information:

Joe Kanoza
Minister's Office ¾ Minister Uppal

Media Relations
Communications Branch
Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Building a stronger Canada: Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) strengthens Canada's economic, social and cultural prosperity, helping ensure Canadian safety and security while managing one of the largest and most generous immigration programs in the world.


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