During early 1960s very few Hindu families had settled in Manitoba, who were living mostly in Winnipeg. The early settlers were mostly professionals, such as Teachers, Professors, Physicians and others. A few more families trickled here during early 1970s. There was no common place of Hindu worship or congregation in the city.
In 1970, a few families floated the idea of incorporating The Manitoba Hindu Society as a religious and charitable organization. The Society was registered on December 9th. 1970. The Society started holding an annual Diwali Celebration at St. Mary’s Road United Church. Subsequently, the activities of the Society became extended to observing major Hindu Festivals. In addition to the Diwali, festivals like Maha Shivratri, Ram Navami and Krishna Janmashtmi started to be celebrated by renting one community hall or another. The Sunday prayer meetings were also added to the activities of the Society. These Sunday meetings gained popularity and they used to be held randomly at the homes of the devotees initially and then regularly at the International Centre.
In 1978, the Society established Vidya Bhavan, the Hindi school to teach Hindi, with the objective to introduce young children to Hindi language, basic Hindu beliefs and religion. The Society kept on increasing its activities and The Diwali Mela celebration was the new addition. It became instant success and became the most popular event in the Society’s calendar. The mela started to be celebrated in various halls across the cities. However now, The Diwali Mela is organized annually at the Winnipeg Convention Centre. It has become the Annual Flagship event of the Society and is attended by more than 4000 members of the Community.
In 1979 the Society opened its first Hindu Temple at 854 Ellice Avenue on October 21st on the day of Diwali. This offered immense pride to the community to have its own temple and the Hindu Community has ensured its continued growth. In 1984 the temple underwent major renovations. This renovation created significant improvement to the temple and its facilities. After renovation, the temple was reopened for worship on July 7th 1984.
In 1998, the Society appointed the Temple Building Committee to raise funds and complete construction of a new Hindu Temple. This committee worked diligently to draw the building plans, invite bids, interview contractors, and obtained approvals and permits from City of Winnipeg to construct a new temple. The Committee sought grants from the Federal and Provincial Governments, from the City of Winnipeg and from other available sources. The entire Hindu community was mobilised to raise funds.
With the successful efforts of all involved, the Hindu Temple & Dr. Raj Pandey Hindu Centre was opened on June 26th, 2005. This 30,000-sq. ft. facility incorporates our temple, puja hall, offices, four class rooms, priest’s residence, library, visiting priest’s residence, community kitchen, cultural hall with a professional stage, and gymnasium. The temples at 854 Ellice Avenue and at 999 St. Anne’s Road are extensively used on regular basis by the Hindu community and managed efficiently by the Hindu Society of Manitoba.