My grandmother turns 100 years old today.
Mabel Lee was born July 4th, 1910, in Victoria BC. Her grandfather Rev. Chan Yu Tan came to Canada in 1896 to serve at the Chinese Methodist Church, which had been co-founded by his elder brother Rev. Chan Sing Kai in 1888.
Granny with our family:
Me Todd, Dad Bill, Mom Betty, Granny Mabel, brother Marke, niece Chloe, sis-in-law Shanda, nephew Cohen
My grandmother has lived through two world wars. She lived through the Chinese Head
Tax era, and the1923 Chinese Exclusion Act.
She welcomed 3
brothers and a cousin home who served in WW2, who were first not allowed to join the Canadian Forces, even though they wanted to fight for the country they were born in.
She couldn't vote in the country
she was born in until she was 37 years old, after the Exclusion Act was
appealed in 1947 – because up until then, she was
considered a resident alien.
She has watched her grand-children become: Miss Canada runner-up, TV
news reporter, BC Lions Cheerleader, lawyer, RCMP officer, Calgary city
councilor, killer-whale habitat warden, mining environment consultant,
and then there's me… Toddish McWong,
One niece is Chief of the Qayqayt First
Nations. And my Granny was interviewed for the the NFB film documentary Tribe of One, about Rhonda Larrabee.
My Grandmother had 3 siblings… 4 sisters and 2
brothers are still very much alive.
She has 22 great-grand-children, and 4
She appeared with me in the 2004 CBC television performance special Gung Haggis Fat Choy, along with my parents, girlfriend and friends.
In 2007, CBC created a TV
documentary about her grandfather and family descendant history titled Generations: The Chan Legacy. We used family home movies that showed my grand mother and her siblings at their mother Kate Lee's 75th birthday party.