SOUTH SHORE – Gurdeep Pandher is an internet sensation to say the least. The Bhangra dancer from Whitehorse, Yukon has been sharing his message of joy through dance and has travelled Canada extensively for the past several years.
He has been teaching Bhangra dancing for many years, but his first video made on Canada Day in 2016 from Whitehorse went viral. Overnight, he garnered about 250,000 views and a worldwide following.
Pandher is currently on his, "Joy, Hope and Positivity" tour that will take him from coast-to-coast, starting with Nova Scotia.
He made stops in Lunenburg and Bridgewater on July 20 where LighthouseNOW caught up to him and explained the reason behind the tour.
"We all know that the pandemic, when it all started, we were together, we were cheering on health care workers and saying that we're all in this together, but after two years more and more divisions started happening in society," he said.
"With my messages of positivity, my effort is to bring people together. True joy from the heart is very important. When you are truly joyful, it opens up your heart, opens up your mind and breaks down barriers and brings the world closer. We need this right now."
He is originally from a village in Punjab and moved to Canada 16 years ago, the last 10 of which he has lived in the Yukon, where he lives in a small cabin and enjoys the beauty and nature surrounding it. He became a Canadian citizen in 2011.
He began his cross-Canada tour in Nova Scotia a few weeks ago, mainly because a friend, who used to live in the Yukon and has played bagpipes for him on numerous occasions, moved back to Nova Scotia a few years ago. He wanted to visit him and do a few more videos with him during his tour.
Prior to arriving on the South Shore, he shot a video at Inverness Beach and Mabou, where he learned a little about square dancing and he shot videos at Peggy's Cove and at the Halifax Public Gardens with his friend accompanying him with the bagpipes. Prior to landing in Bridgewater, he recorded a video on the waterfront in Lunenburg.
Pandher said the reception from everyone on the tour so far has been incredible.
"People have been stopping to take selfies, talk to me and some people have stopped and told me they appreciate these kinds of messages. Some people tell me that since the beginning of the pandemic, they have been watching my videos for their mental health and positive messages," he said.
"Someone even told me they survived the pandemic by watching my videos. That was very touching and humbling to me. I feel very honoured and humbled by these kinds of reactions."
Pandher said the plan is to take about two-and-a-half month to go across Canada, staying a week-to-10 days in each province, stopping in many places to do some dancing and connect with residents and spreading joy.
From Bridgewater, he was headed south and going around the coast, heading back to Cape Breton. Then it is off to Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick before heading west.
The 42-year-old travels in a van where he sleeps, and he cooks most of his own meals over a small stove.
He is keeping a diary of sorts, posting videos, photos and thoughts on social media throughout his journey.