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Dr. Gurdev Singh Gill, Canada's 1st Indo-Canadian physician, dead at 92

Dr. Gurdev Singh Gill received multiple awards from his alma mater UBC for his work in Canada and India. Dr. Gurdev Singh Gill received multiple awards from his alma mater UBC for his work in Canada and India.

Dr. Gurdev Singh Gill, the first Canadian born in India to become a doctor in Canada, has died.

In a statement announcing his death, Gill's family described the father of four as "a special person whose impact on the lives of people in both Canada and India goes far beyond what anyone can read or see."

Born in the village of Kharoudi in 1931, Gill came to North America by boat in 1949, first meeting with his grandfather in southern California before taking a train to Seattle and a ferry to Vancouver Island, where his father Dilbag was living.

Gill became a Canadian citizen in 1954 and graduated from UBC in 1956, settling in New Westminster, where he practised medicine for 40 years.

In addition to his work as a physician, he co-founded the East Indian Welfare Society and travelled to Ottawa to lobby the federal government on issues important to the Indo-Canadian community, including family reunification and recognition of foreign credentials.

An active member of Metro Vancouver's Sikh community, Gill served as president of the Khalsa Diwan Society and was instrumental in raising funds for the construction of the Ross Street Gurdwara in Vancouver in 1970, according to his family.

Gill also founded the Indo Canadian Friendship Society, which funds village improvement projects in Punjab.

"Remarkably, all this was done on top of his day job as a physician, where he treated so many in the community and saved many lives," the family's statement reads.

"His office was more than a traditional Doctor's office. It was a community hall. Indo-Canadians all across Metro Vancouver came to Dr. Gill's office for more than treatment. They came for guidance, advice and help."

Gill was awarded the Order of British Columbia in 1991. He was the first Canadian born in India to receive that honour.

He also received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012, UBC Global Citizenship Alumni Achievement Award in 2013, and UBC MAA Wallace Wilson Leadership Award in 2018.

Gill's family plans to hold a celebration of his life on May 20, and encourages those interested in attending to email for details.

"It's often said that a rising tide lifts all boats," the family's statement concludes.

"For so many people in both Canada and India, Dr. Gill was that rising tide. May he rest in peace." Top Stories

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