Prem Singhmar
Age: 62
Profession: Hotel developer
From: India
Living in: Edmonton
Arrived in: 1985

Before moving to Alberta in 1985, Prem Singhmar was an eye surgeon in India. But when he and his family settled just north of Edmonton, they started a chicken farm. Singhmar also had his eyes on real estate and development, and in 1998, he built his first hotel in Fort Saskatchewan, a project that he feels was an obvious choice. “We had the land, and they didn’t have a hotel,” he says. Singhmar and his family now run three hotels, in Fort Saskatchewan, Sherwood Park and Leduc, and plans are underway for a fourth, in Edmonton’s downtown Quarters district.

The Quarters is a rundown part of Edmonton that the city is planning to revitalize with new construction and community projects. If it’s successful, Singhmar’s hotel could help sustain growth in the area.

That’s a prospect that Edmonton mayor Stephen Mandel is excited about. His enthusiasm for the project – and for Singhmar – is evident. “Prem is a passionate Albertan … He’s been a huge supporter of unending numbers of charities in Edmonton,” he says. “We’re truly blessed to have someone so community-minded as a business person.”

Singhmar and his family have demonstrated their support for the community in Edmonton through a series of donations to the arts and education in the city. He and his wife, Saroj, donated $1.5 million to the University of Alberta in 2006 to create the Saroj and Prem Singhmar Chair in Classical Indian Polity and Society, and in 2008 they donated $1.2 million to the Art Gallery of Alberta. Singhmar also sits on the board of trustees of the Alberta Cancer Foundation and the advisory council of the Alberta branch of the Immigrant Access Fund.