The pioneers were men, mostly Sikhs from the Punjab; many were veterans of the British Army.In 1897 a contingent of Sikh soldiers participated in the parade to celebrate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in London, England.Some of them also found their land and estates back home in India were utilized by money lenders.

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The Sikhs, who had seen Canada, recommended the New World to fellow Sikh people who were in a position to venture out and seek new fortunes.

They were guaranteed jobs by agents of big Canadian companies like the Canadian Pacific Railway and the Hudson's Bay Company.

Overcoming their initial reluctance to go to these countries due to the treatment of Asians by the white population, many young men chose to go, having been assured that they would not meet the same fate.

They were British subjects; Canada was a part of the British Empire; and the British Empire owed much to the Sikhs.

Statistics Canada uses "East Indian" to refer to people specifically from post-partition India.

First Nations of Canada are also officially referred to as 'Indians' by the Canadian government under the Indian Act.

As a result, there were a series of race riots that targeted the Sikh immigrants, who were beat up by mobs of angry white Canadians, though often met with retaliation.

These mobs not only targeted Indians, but also other Asian group such as the Chinese immigrants working on the railroad at the time and Black Canadians.

In 2001, 24% of seniors of East Indian origin lived with relatives, such as the family of a son or daughter, while only 5% of all seniors in Canada lived with relatives.

The highest concentrations of Indo-Canadians are found in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia, followed by growing communities in Alberta and Quebec as well, with the majority of them being foreign-born.

Queen Victoria had proclaimed in 1858 that throughout the empire the people of India that they would enjoy "equal privileges with white people without discrimination of colour, creed or race." However, upon arrival to British Columbia, the first Sikh immigrants faced widespread racism by the local white Canadians.