August 3-10 is Chinese Canadian Heritage Days, in honour of 150 years of Chinese Canadian achievements – throughout many municipalities on Vancouver Island.
Victoria Chinese Commerce Association is hosting two events Friday August 8, and Saturday August 9th to celebrate 150 years of
achievement of Chinese Canadians in Canada. August 8th is a gala dinner and awards event celebrating the achievements of individuals and organizations. August 9th is a theatrical “pageant” celebrating 150 years of historical events.
Victoria, British Columbia,
(which the Chinese call 'Dai Fau' or Big Port) is where the early
Chinese created the first Chinatown. Historically, Chinatowns were the
focal points of the early Chinese communities, each being a “haven” and
a base from which new immigrants could begin their new lives.
My grandmother's granfather Rev. Chan Yu Tan arrived in Victoria in 1896, following his elder brother Rev. Chan Sing Kai, who had come to Canada in 1888 at the invitation of the Methodist Church of Canada, to help found the Chinese Methodist Church of Canada. Many of Canada's pioneer Chinese all came through Victoria, as they traveled to Nanaimo, Vancouver, New Westminster, Barkerville, and throughout Canada to mine the Caribou goldfields, build the railway, or find other work.
The awards nominees represent some of the best, brightest and most creative Chinese Canadians ever. They are:
Pacific Unit #280, Philip Chan, Chinese Canadian Veterans, Denise
Chong, Wayson Choy, CHMB AM 1320, Hon. Ida Chong, Derek Chow, John
Chew, Adrienne Clarkson, Mel Cooper, Won Alexander Cumyow, Fairchild
Group, Chow Dong Hoy, Shouying (Sue) Jiang, Douglas Jung, Lee Mong Kow
Family, Larry Kwong, Hon. Norman Kwong,
Cynthia Lam, Dr. David Lai,
Dr. David Lam, Dorothy
Lam, Howe Lee, Jack Lee, Dr. Hua Lin, Dr. Victor Ling, Ronald Lou-Poy,
Q.C., Frank Low, Alan Lowe, Alexina Louie, H.Y. Louie Company Limited,
Hok Yat Louie, Tong Louie & Brandt Louie, H.Y. Louie Company Ltd
& London Drugs, Willis Louie, Sgt. Roy Quock Quon Mah,
Tak Wah Mak, Gary Mar, Hon. Inky Mark, Fairway Market, Wayne Ngan, Senator Vivienne Poy, Gordon Quan, St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, James Sing,
Rev. Chan Yu Tan, Jack Tang, Victoria
Chinese Presbyterian Church, Victoria Chinese Public School, Milton
Wong, Sheung Wong, Dr. Yuen-Fong Woon, Don Yuen, & Jim Yu.
I am attending as a descendant of Rev. Chan Yu Tan, who was earlier announced as a Community Achievement winner. My grandmother's brother – Daniel Lee is representing Army/Navy/Airforce veterans Unit #280. My grandmother's cousin Victor Wong is representing Chinese Canadian Veterans of Victoria.
Today I talked with Amanda Mills, co-chair for the event. Amanda said that she is really pleased that everything is unfolding for a grand event that will be very special.
She told me that some of the “celebrity” Chinese Canadians attending on Saturday include: Hon. Norman Kwong, now the Lt. Gov. of Alberta – the famous “China Clipper” Edmonton Eskimos football player who not only won the Grey Cup, but also the Stanley Cup as an owner of the Calgary Flames.
Sen. Vivienne Poy, the patron senator of Asian Heritage Month in Canada is attending, from her home in Ontario.
MLA Ida Chong will be representing the BC Govermnent. Ida was also recently invited to “The Party” at the Royal BC Museum. She is the first Canadian-born BC MLA of Chinese ancestry.
MLA Jenny Kwan is also attending. Jenny was the first Chinese-Canadian MLA and cabinet minister. MLA Carole James, leader of the Opposition, is also attending.
It's going to be a star-studded night in Chinese-Canadian history.
Hmmm…. Should I go as Todd Wong, great-great-grandson of Rev. Chan Yu Tan, or as Toddish McWong and wear my kilt?
Amanda says she is looking forward to finally meeting me, after many phone and e-mail conversations. She is hoping I will wear my kilt.