“Today, Sikhs in Canada and around the world will celebrate the birth of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, in 1469.
“This anniversary, known as Guru Nanak Gurpurab, is one of the most sacred festivals in Sikhism. It is an occasion to honour not only the birth of a remarkable spiritual leader, but also to celebrate the founding of one of the world's great religions.
“As the first of the 10 Sikh Gurus, Guru Nanak's spiritual teachings established the fundamental pillars of the Sikh faith, encompassing universal messages of compassion, peace and social equality, which continue – more than 500 years later – to transcend generations, cultures and backgrounds.
“Today, there are more than 23 million Sikhs worldwide and over 500,000 in Canada. As the followers of Sikhism commemorate this important anniversary, we are reminded of how blessed Canada is to be home to such a large, vibrant and dynamic Sikh community, one of the largest outside of India.
“Members of Canada's Sikh community have contributed immensely to our country's diversity and prosperity for more than a century. And with India being among Canada's top source countries for immigration, we know that they will continue to achieve remarkable things in the years to come.
“On behalf of the Government of Canada, we offer our warmest wishes to Sikhs everywhere for a joyful celebration of Guru Nanak's birthday.”