My Great-great-grandfather Rev. Chan Yu Tan was part of “Three Early Chinese Canadian Pioneer Familes” exhibit


My Great-great-grandfather Rev. Chan Yu Tan was part of “Three Early Chinese Canadian Pioneer Familes” exhibit

My Great-great-grandfather Rev. Chan Yu Tan came to Canada in 1896, following his elder brother Rev. Chan Sing Kai from Hong Kong.  They were graduates of the Wesleyan Mission.  My family has now been in Canada for 7 generations – all in Vancouver BC.  I am part of the 5th generation of the Chan family descendants.

Rev. Yu-Tan Chan and Mrs. Chan seated.  His daughter ,my great great grandmother Kate Lee and her Husband Ernest Lee (standing 2nd from right and 1st right.)

New Westminister, British Columbia, circa 1920Courtesy of the Dora Yip Collection

In 2002, The Chan family was part of a history project for the Chinese Cultural Centre Museum and Archives in Vancouver BC, titled “Three Pioneer Chinese Families.”  Here is a link to the original Vancouver Sun article by John Mackie.

Rev Chan Yu Tan and Rev Chan Sing Kai were pioneer missionaries to Canada, arriving in 1896 and 1990. They and their sisters Naomi and Phoebe (also known as Ng Ku or “The Bible Lady”) also helped to build the Chinese Methodist Church in Vancouver, that later became the Chinese United Church. These early churches were the first organizations to teach Chinese immigrants language lessons in English.

One of Rev. Chan Yu Tan's sons, Luke Chan, went to Hollywood and acted in films, where he starred in several movies, including The Secrets of Wu Sin, The Mysterious Mr. Wong and Singapore.

Grandsons Victor Wong, and brothers Daniel, Leonard and Howard all served in the Canadian Armed Forces during World War II. Daniel has received awards for Appreciation, Service and Merit, for his work with Pacific Unit 280 veterans.

Great-granddaughter Rhonda Larrabee was the subject of the National Film Board documentary Tribe of One, as she singlehandedly revived the Qayqayt (New Westminster) First Nations Band of her mother's heritage.

Great-great- granddaughter Joni Mar was a Miss Canada runner-up and was one of the first Asian-Canadian television news reporters when she worked for CBC TV.

I just thought I would share this with you, as I ready materials for the 2005 Research Fair, organized by the Chinese Canadian Historical Society of B.C., January 22, 2005, 10:30am to 4:00pm at Vancouver Museum.

Here's another link with a picture of Rev. Yu-Tan Chan on a page titled Coming to Gum San.

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