As a researcher on this project, I have been reviewing a number of documents at the Cowichan Valley Museum in Duncan and at the local archives in Duncan. It is a real honour and privilege for me to look through these historical gems and get a picture of the early days at Paldi.
I have fond memories of Paldi. Growing up in Duncan, I remember exploring the old abandoned houses and playing hide and seek and tag around the Paldi gudawara (temple) while my parents attended services. Sometimes I would find little odds and ends and wonder where they came from. Once I found an old faded letter and a picture of a horse.
I remember visiting some of the Mayo family as a little girl with my grandparents. I remember the races and sports events during the Paldi Jord Mela which happened every July. A highlight for all of us kids was getting yummy ice cream:) Paldi was always a buzz with laughter, people re-connecting, kids running around and lots of food.
It was a place that seemed magical to me. I could run around and explore old buildings and feel like I was going back in time. I really didn’t know the significance of the buildings and the bits and pieces I was finding during my explorations. It’s only now that I realize how lucky I was to have had that time at Paldi.
The buildings are all gone now. No more boardwalk, cook house, bunk houses or old homes to explore.
This is a picture I found of the original gudawara at Paldi. There is no date for the picture. The picture of the temple was in a discard folder in the Paldi files and had no information. The current gudawara was built on the exact spot of the original temple.
According to Joan Mayo’s book, Paldi Remembered, the actual gudawara (temple) was built in 1919 and officially opened July 1, 1919. The current Paldi executive is planning to celebrate 100 years of Paldi in 2019.
Paldi was a melting pot of different cultures. The Chinese, Japanese and South Asians all lived side by side. I found this picture of young school girls at Paldi. No date is given.
Mr and Mrs Mayo were really the ones to create Paldi and build a community of people. They welcomed everyone. My grandmother, Rajinder Kaur Manak, told me that when she first arrived in 1939 after marrying my grandfather, Mrs. Mayo welcomed her and encouraged my grandfather to live in Paldi instead of Duncan so my grandmother would feel less lonely. She always spoke of how welcoming Mrs. Mayo was and how she looked forward to the weekly Sunday trip out to Paldi.