Dr. Gurdev Singh Gill, Canada’s first South Asian physician, has died at the age of 92 in Canada’s westernmost province, British Columbia.
His death: Gill died in New Westminster on Dec. 17. His cause of death has not been revealed. Gill’s family announced the news in a statement, recounting the impact he has had “on the lives of people in both Canada and India.”
“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. It’s often said that a rising tide lifts all boats. For so many people in both Canada and India, Dr. Gill was that rising tide. May he rest in peace,” Gill’s family wrote, according to CTV News.
Remembering Gill: Gill, who moved to Canada in 1949, was the first Indian student to graduate from the University of British Columbia (UBC) in 1956. He settled in New Westminster to practice medicine for over 40 years. He made history in 1958 as the first Indo Canadian physician in the country.
Gill also played a crucial role in community leadership, serving as the president of Vancouver’s Khalsa Diwan Society and overseeing the construction of the Ross Street Gurdwara in Vancouver in 1970.
“He was larger than life,” his grandson, Imran Gill, told the Vancouver Sun. “He was so committed to making a difference in what he did every day. Even right until he passed at 92 he was still working away, moving a mile a minute.”
Gill’s achievements: In addition, Gill founded the Indo Canadian Friendship Society, supporting village improvement projects in Punjab. Gill received notable honors, including the Order of British Columbia in 1991, making him the first Canadian born in India to be so recognized.
Other accolades include the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012, the UBC Global Citizenship Alumni Achievement Award in 2013 and the UBC MAA Wallace Wilson Leadership Award in 2018.