Sunday marks the 107th anniversary of the Komagata Maru incident, and the first time the City of Vancouver will officially mark the Komagata Maru Day of Remembrance.
The Komagata Maru, a Japanese steamship, arrived in Vancouver on May 23, 1914, with 376 British subjects from India aboard.
Despite being British subjects, the 340 Sikhs, 24 Muslims, and 12 Hindus were denied entry to Canada due to laws that discriminated based on race, and were forced to remain aboard for two months before being sent back to India.
Upon their return to the South Asian country, 19 were shot and killed, while many others were jailed.
On Tuesday, Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart officially apologized for the city’s role in the incident, and declared May 23 as the Komagata Maru Day of Remembrance.
Stewart said the Vancouver city council of the time went on record saying it was opposed to the admittance of “Hindus and other Asiatic races” into Canada because they’d be a “serious menace” to civilization, both economically and socially.
As a part of the new day of remembrance, the city worked with the community to produce a new video detailing the ship’s story through the eyes of its passengers, their descendants and their families.
Vancouver City Hall will also be illuminated orange on Sunday to mark the date.