Abbotsford – The recipient of the 2019 Order of Abbotsford is community and cultural bridge builder Dr. Andy Singh Sidhu.
Raised in multi-cultural Malaysia, Andy Sidhu came to Abbotsford in 1974 as a member of the Sikh diaspora. He brought with him an understanding of the challenges and the opportunities of living in a multi-cultural context. With imagination, skill and vigour, he has used his experience and skills to be a community and cultural bridge builder in the City of Abbotsford.
As a bridge-builder, Andy’s influence extends to many sectors of the community through both his work and business and his community volunteering. In his first years in Canada, Andy worked with a private agricultural business and later joined the Canada Farm Labour Pool where he served as an assistant manager, helping to bridge the cultural and language gap between Punjabi speaking workers and employers.
Andy’s involvement in community organizations has been exemplary. Most notably, he has contributed to the work of the Abbotsford Hospice Society, Abbotsford Community Services, United Way of the Lower Mainland, the Abbotsford Police Foundation, Fraser Valley Health Care Foundation and the Canadian Diabetic Association.
In the business community, Andy has built a legacy as owner and publisher of the Punjabi Patrika for over two decades. The weekly newspaper is one of the few truly bilingual newspapers in Canada and BC’s first multi-language newspaper, founded on a vision of inclusivity and forming multicultural connections in the community.
Andy is a member of the Fraser Valley Indo-Canadian Business Association and has served as its president; in addition, he has been a participant for over 30 years with the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce. Since 2011, Andy has been a board member of the University of the Fraser Valley Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies, and in 2017 UFV granted Andy its highest formal recognition, an honorary doctorate, earned through lifetime contributions of professionalism, exemplary service and enrichment of the lives of others. UFV also appointed him as Chancellor in 2018, the most distinguished ceremonial and ambassadorial position at the university.
Andy’s leadership in our community has been value-driven, leading through relationship building and peace-making. With a remarkable ability to draw out the best from people around him, Andy has led through an infectious generosity of spirit that makes those around him want to do the right thing. His work makes our community a place where we can be proud not only of what we achieved but how we achieved it. Through his hard work, his vision for inclusivity and understanding, and by softly motivating people to find common ground, Andy has been an excellent community builder in Abbotsford, making it a healthier community to live and work.
The Order of Abbotsford is bestowed to an individual who has demonstrated a particularly high level of contribution or length of service to Abbotsford and its residents, and who has brought distinction to themselves and the community through outstanding achievements in a variety of areas, including but not limited to: culture, public or community service, the environment, heritage conservation, and sports.
Recipients of the Order of Abbotsford have their names recorded in the Order of Abbotsford Merit Book, which is maintained by the Office of the Mayor. The Order of Abbotsford award ceremony will be held on July 1, at the Canada Day ceremonies at Abbotsford Exhibition Park.