Soni Dasmohapatra asks: Who is Sohan Singh Bullar? Why is there a park named after them?
This episode is part of our series exploring the history of parks and natural areas in Edmonton. To start off, we spoke to Shreela Chakrabartty about the documentary she helped create, Punjabi Pioneers of Alberta. She gave us some background on Sohan Singh Bhullar, who became one of the first Punjabi settlers to move to Alberta back in 1907. He and his wife Effie Jones moved to Edmonton in 1953.
Sohan Singh Bhullar Park, named in his memory, is located at 8603 38 Avenue, in Mill Woods, though their home was in Garneau around 112 Street and 87 Avenue. (Note: Google Maps gives the park its former, incomplete name):
Their daughter Judi Singh was a well-known local jazz singer. We included a clip from Judi Singh’s single “A Time for Love” in this episode.
We visited Sohan Singh Bhullar Park together with Naming Committee Vice Chair Matthew Dance. He shared some context on who most features in Edmonton are named after, and how the Naming Committee has evolved its policies and practices to become more inclusive.
In 2021, Matthew showed that: “an initial analysis of Edmonton place names memorializing people from the 1950s to the 2000s found that male place names represented 57% of place names, as compared to female names at 7%. In addition, there are no non-binary names on record. And, for completeness, the remaining 36% of Edmonton place names represent flora, fauna or some other non-human representation.” That data is drawn from this spreadsheet.
Sponsorship for this episode provided by Edmonton Public Schools and the Edmonton Community Foundation.
You can support the show on Patreon.
- Sohan Singh Bhullar Park (Edmonton Maps Heritage)
- Edmonton Naming Committee
- Naming Edmonton: From Ada to Zoie
- City of Edmonton Naming Policy for the Naming of Municipal Assets (Aug 2021)
- “Naming as norming: ‘race, gender, and the identity politics of naming places in Aotearoa/New Zealand” – Lawrence D Berg and Robin A Kearns (Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 1996, volume 14, pages 99-122)