Prem Singhmar made a bold declaration to go into business and stay there and more than two decades on, the doctor-turned-businessman-turned-philanthropist has kept his promise alive.
Singhmar is among thousands of immigrants who call Edmonton home and work for its betterment.
He came here from a small village in Punjab, India, in 1985 and has been living a Canadian dream ever since and loves it here.
“It’s a very good community-oriented city,” Singhmar said of Edmonton.
“People are very kind, people are very generous.”
The former eye surgeon said he abandoned his field for business because it would have taken him long to be reaccredited as a doctor here in Canada.
The Sherwood Park man’s entrepreneurial spirit has propelled him into a successful developer of hotels and commercial property around Alberta, and he owns the Coast Edmonton East Hotel.
But with the gloomy economy, he said, the number of occupants in his hotel has gone down and houses he earmarked for sale have not been bought.
To outlive the bad economic news, he said, you either have to spend more or you have to tighten your belt. He opted for the latter.
Singhmar said he and his family owe their success to the community and are “obliged to give back.”
The prominent businessman and his family have embarked on some of the most philanthropic programs in the city.
The Singhmars have donated $1.2 million to the Alberta Art Gallery and $1.5 million to the University of Alberta’s faculty of arts to fund a senior chair dedicated to the study of ancient India.
However, their altruistic contributions to the community have not gone unnoticed.
Singhmar and his wife, Saroj, have been awarded the Alberta Centennial Medal.
Singhmar is also a proud recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal given to him in recognition for outstanding contributions to the community.