in the greater toronto area
With a population of 160,000, the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) has the largest population of Punjabi Sikhs within Canada, slightly larger than Vancouver’s Sikh population. Traditionally, Punjabi Sikhs have mostly lived in the Rexdale neighborhood of Etobicoke and the Armadale neighborhood of Scarborough, but have recently spread out and formed a Little Punjab in Brampton.
When Punjabi Sikhs originally came to Canada in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, they settled in western Canada and stayed there for many years. In the 1960s and 1970s, tens of thousands of skilled and educated Sikhs settled across Canada, especially in the urban corridor from Toronto to Windsor. The numbers have continued to grow in GTA. Since 2013, the month of April has been officially recognized in Ontario as Sikh Heritage Month to recognize the contributions that Sikh Canadians have made to the social, economic, political, and cultural fabric in the area.
Statistics Canada 2011 counted 159,910 Sikhs in the Greater Toronto Area. Using census information instead of community estimates helps compare populations of people groups in various cities. However, the population is likely larger than this number.
- One-third of Canada’s Sikhs live in the Greater Toronto Area.
- The Turban Up! festival, hosted by Experience Sikhi, celebrates Sikh culture and it encourages people from all backgrounds to learn about the Sikh community. Volunteers tie brightly colored cloth turbans for those who wish to wear the traditional headwear.
- Nav Bhatia is a successful Punjabi Sikh businessman in Toronto, but he is best known as the Superfan of the Toronto Raptors. He never misses a game, and he purchases thousands of tickets for others with one motivation: “To simply make the world a better place while changing the way his people are viewed by others.”
The Sikh Spiritual Center Toronto is a Sikh worship place but members of all communities and religion are welcome. Like any other gurdwara (a place of assembly and worship for Sikhs), a free meal is served to all visitors without distinction.
The Ramgarhia Sikh Society is another gurdwara in GTA hosted by Sikh volunteers.
Unreached people groups can also be viewed as "hidden" people groups (i.e., they are largely unnoticed and unaffected by the global Body of Christ). In the prayer gallery section below, as well as through the Google Earth prayerwalk tool, you can visualize these hidden people group communities. By doing so, we pray God gives you insight into how to pray through what you see. By scrolling through major points of interest in the prayer gallery section, pray for people you see, and pray that the peace and hope of Jesus will become known to people who frequent these places. Through the Google Earth prayerwalk tool linked at the bottom of the page, you can virtually prayerwalk through the community, praying "on site with insight." You could also take the route and points of interest from that tool and save them to your "Google Maps" to prayerwalk in person. Allow the following three steps to guide your prayers using these tools, and try prayerwalking with another person or small group! God hears the voice of His people, and He responds to our prayers!
Praise God for who He is. Thank Him for His blessings and salvation that is extended to all peoples. Praise and thank Him for appointing the time and boundaries of this people group's presence in North America so that they might seek Him and find Him (Acts 17:26). Pray Scriptures that come to mind about His glory being made known among all peoples and nations (e.g., Rev 7:9-10).
Luke 10:2 says “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest." Pray for God's laborers to share Christ's love through hospitality to this people group. Pray for laborers among this community to establish loving relationships and proclaim the gospel. Pray for Christians to emerge from within this people group who will reach their friends and family members.
Most members of unreached people group communities remain unreached because they have failed to hear the gospel in ways they can understand. Others have heard the gospel but have many barriers to overcome before receiving the gospel. Pray that this community will understand the gospel. Pray for God to draw them to Jesus and remove the barriers that keep them from salvation in Christ.
Sikh Spiritual Center
The Center is a Sikh worship place where members of all communities and religions are welcome. Just like many other Gurdwaras, they have a community kitchen, where a free meal is served to all the visitors, without distinction of religion, caste, gender, economic status or ethnicity. The free meal is always vegetarian. People sit on the floor, eat together, and the kitchen is maintained and serviced by Sikh community volunteers.
Visit this page to learn general information about Sikh communities in North America and their religious beliefs. Also, discover resources to help share Jesus with them in their language.
Prayerwalk through some of the main Sikh restaurants, places of worship, and businesses in Toronto using a tool we developed in Google Earth. You could also do a prayerwalk in person using the same points of interest.