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Vancouver announces Komagata Maru street name to address historic wrongs

The Komagata Maru docked near the current location of Canada Place in 1914

Vancouver councillors have approved the honorary street name of Komagata Maru Place for an iconic landmark in a move to redress a case of systemic discrimination that took place more than a century ago.

The city says Canada Place will get the second name to acknowledge historical discrimination against South Asian communities.

The Komagata Maru docked near the current location of Canada Place in 1914 with 340 Sikh, 27 Muslim and 12 Hindu passengers on board, most of whom were denied entry into Canada despite having valid travel documents.

The city says in a news release that the refusal marked a “significant historical incident of systemic discrimination.”

Mayor Ken Sim says in the release that the naming is a “meaningful step” toward building a more inclusive city.

The city says it will seek public input for the design of the road sign and public education materials for Komagata Maru Place, with an unveiling ceremony planned for later this year.

It says it also hopes to enhance the Komagata Maru Monument at Harbour Park.

City council also plans to recognize the cultural and historical significance of the 2nd Avenue Gurdwara site in the city’s Kitsilano neighbourhood.

“This is a historically significant location in relation to the Komagata Maru incident, as this was the site where the local South Asian community mobilized to support the passengers,” the release says. “Future initiatives will further explore other areas of historical and cultural significance to the South Asian Canadian communities in Vancouver.”

The Canadian Press

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