Member Submission: Vanessa Sharma on Komagata Maru Place

February 12, 2024

Komagata Maru Place sign in Vancouver

By MoveUP member Vanessa Sharma

In 1914, the Komagata Maru ship arrived with 376 Indian passengers – 340 Sikhs, 24 Muslims and 12 Hindus – to Vancouver where they did not receive a warm welcome because of the racist laws that were put into place.

This powerful launch of the secondary place name which, will be a permanent fixture between Burrard and Thurlow at Canada Place commemorates the Komagata Maru tragedy, the lives lost, and the communities impacted.

It’s a bittersweet feeling personally because it was a traumatic event for the South Asian community that had happened in Vancouver but, at the same time, the signs are done so beautifully that it stands out and you’re able to learn about what had happened, so that piece of history isn’t lost for the next generation.

Jag Nagra was the artist who created the artwork. Others involved in making this happened were Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim, City of Vancouver councillors, city staff, the art selection committee plus curator Jas Lally, Ari Bhullar, Krystal Paraboo, and the Punjabi Market Collective.

Vanessa Sharma is a MoveUP member who works at FortisBC. She is active in many aspects of our union, including serving as a facilitator for Job Steward training.

Photo from City of Vancouver