Kids Corner


The Sikh Town of Malton







I never really understood why my hometown never gets its due.

There probably isn’t one Sikh in Canada who can’t trace a family member or friend back to Malton. Which could therefore also easily be said about Punjab: “There probably isn’t one Sikh in Punjab …!”

Malton today could very easily be labelled a ‘Sikh Town’, not unlike the historic Sikh towns and villages of British Columbia: Duncan, Paldi, Surrey, Abbotsford …

Malton traces its roots back to 1820 when it was a “Police Village”, a term used to describe a form of municipal government used in the province of Ontario, Canada, beginning in the early 19th century. It applied to settlements where the finances or population of the area did not permit the creation of a full-fledged village.

Later, in the 20th century, it became an industrial aviation hub (Victory Aviation) of Canada and therefore, not surprisingly, Germany had it on its radar to bomb during the World War II. 

Greater Toronto’s international airport -- the Pearson Toronto International Airport -- is located in Malton. Originally called Malton Airport, it was the site of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan facilities during the wartime years.

In 1942, the Canadian Government expropriated the north part of the former Fred Codlin farm and built 200 military-style houses for war-time workers. “Victory Village” streets had war-time references; Victory, Merit, McNaughton (Andrew McNaughton, commander of the Canadian Forces in the UK), Churchill and Lancaster (Avro Lancasters were built at Victory Aircraft from 1943 to 1945). The Victory Community Hall was built shortly after.

By 1958, Malton acquired an international reputation as a leader in aeronautical design and manufacturing. It was the home of the famous Avro Arrow, Canada's first supersonic aircraft, still believed to have been years ahead of its time.

Marvin Heights subdivision was built in the late 1950s and by the 1960’s Sikhs had started to settle in Malton. 

My family settled in Malton in the early 1970’s and our second house was on Victory Crescent. I attended Marvin Heights Elementary School. I then went on to middle school at Lancaster P.S. 

By the mid 70’s and into the 1980’s, Malton had become one of the hubs of the Sikh community in Ontario, requiring it to build the suburb’s first gurdwara in the early 80’s. Large numbers of Sikh-Britons were immigrating to the area, and then themselves became the magnet for further waves of immigration.

Recently when there were signs in the community referring to it as ‘Malton Village,’ I thought it should more accurately be named Malton Pind!

It is so interesting how everything is interconnected to Malton as I reflect on the events of this week. 

Sardar Gurbax Singh Malhi was the first turbaned Sikh to be elected to a parliament in the western hemisphere. He then represented the Malton riding as a Liberal.

I remember in 1993 when the soon to be elected Prime Minister of Canada, Jean Chrétien visited Malton during his campaign. This was just the start of things to come, heralding the area as one of those critical in the province‘s and the country‘s elections.

In 1999, Raminder Singh Gill was the first Sikh in Ontario to be elected to the Provincial Legislator. His riding covered Malton.

In this century, Dr. Kuldip Singh Kular was an MPP from Malton, Baljit Singh Gosal was the Federal Minister of Sport, also representing Malton.

The current Deputy Leader of the New Democratic Party ("NDP") in Ontario, Jagmeet Singh, represents Malton.

And, most famously, Canada’s newly minted Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development (he's also The Registrar General of Canada, and The Keeper of The Great Seal of Canada), Navdeep Singh Bains, represents Mississauga – Malton. 

Many great athletes, professionals and community activists hail from this town. 

Thus Malton has become the focal point of a thriving Sikh-Canadian locality just as the historic Second Avenue Gurdwara and its surrounding area in Vancouver (on the distant West Coast in British Columbia) was when the first Sikh-Canadian pioneer settlers organized themselves in 1908. 

In fact, the Sikh Heritage Museum of Canada ( is located in Malton and in keeping with the great Sikh military legacy, I would encourage eeryone to come out to our special, “Outwhiskered,” which coincides with Remembrance Day this year.

Interestingly, Malton seems to have its own heartbeat and I would argue its own distinct identity. 

Take for instance Minister Navdeep Singh’s riding title of Mississauga - Malton. Malton is part of Mississauga! Yet it is separated as a riding title.

Maybe it is time for Malton to assert its own distinct moniker!

November 9, 2015

Conversation about this article

1: Irvinder Singh Babra (Brampton, Ontario, Canada), November 09, 2015, 5:09 PM.

Pardeep, well done. In the last 30 years, Malton has grown to be a cradle for many immigrants, a power house for so many small business owners, operators, drivers, writers, journalists, photographers, lawyers, doctors, dentists, teachers, and more. I used to cover many of the movers and shakers you have mentioned here via my paper, 'Sikh Press'. Indeed, Malton remains a very rich and vibrant town for both Sikhs and non-Sikhs.

2: R Singh (Surrey, British Columbia, Canada), November 09, 2015, 6:24 PM.

The same could be said of my hometown of Southall ... "There's not one Sikh that cannot ...!'

3: Chintan Singh (San Jose, California, USA), November 10, 2015, 5:36 PM.

Isn't Malton the city which is the home of the only Sikh public school in the Greater Toronto area? Or are there more?

4: Tony Singh (Canada), November 11, 2015, 12:18 AM.

Malton used to have a concentration of Sikhs many years ago. However, most of the Sikhs moved to newer neighbouring cities like Brampton, Springdale and Vaughan. The Sikhs remaining in Malton are mostly those who couldn't afford to move to the newer areas. Malton now has large infusions of Muslims, 'Blacks' and 'Whites'.

5: Sartaj Singh Dhillon (New York, USA), November 13, 2015, 2:47 PM.

Great piece, and a nice look at the growth of Malton. Let's not forget the Malton Community Centre - the venue of many modest, family-oriented Punjabi wedding receptions back in the day before the complete insanity that we see today, Westwood Mall, which was everyone's place to go to until Woodbine became the 'next best thing'. Can't forget the annual Punjabi sports competitions at Wildwood Park and the epic hockey matches on Dalewood. Malton is in good hands today with Minister Navdeep Singh who will build on the rich history of past elected officials who paved the way. Sounds like you guys are doing great work at the Museum. Hope to have a chance to see it one day. Best wishes to the team there on this very important work!

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