and struggles of one of Canada's most vibrant communities.
It's possible that Chinese sailors landed on the shores of the country
that was to become Canada long before Captain George Vancouver set foot
on the west coast, if research proves to be true. But even if the impact
the Chinese had on this land was not felt until they came in larger
numbers to mine for gold or to build the Canadian Pacific Railway, their
influence is seen in every city from Victoria to Halifax. Chinese
culture has permeated the fabric of Canadian society with bold, exciting
cuisine, art, music and alternative approaches to medicine and healing.
Talented and creative individuals have made these concepts an integral
aspect of everyday Canadian culture.
Regardless of the hardships they endured–hazardous work conditions on
the railway line, the government-sanctioned racism of the head tax, the
lack of suffrage in a country where they were supposedly citizens–the
Chinese persevered and forged a new chapter in our collective legacy.
And some of Canada's most influential and interesting people have
emerged from the families of Chinese immigrants–Adrienne Clarkson,
former Governor General; Norman Kwong, lieutenant-governor of Alberta;
Alfred Sung, fashion designer; Stephen Yan, chef and TV host of Wok with
Yan; Patrick Chan, Canadian figure skating champion and so many more.
vitality and a unique character to a vast land. Adventurous, hardworking
and sometimes outrageous, the earliest Scots settlers were rejuvenated
by later waves of immigration. Their spirit epitomized a central theme
of progress and development that permeates our culture and sense of
Some even believe the Scots from the Orkney Islands were the first
Europeans to land here. Or did they crew boats with the Vikings or St.
Their numbers filled every province, and we remember famous and familiar
names, such as Sanford Fleming, Hugh Allan, Alexander Keith, Robert
Service and Alexander MacKenzie. The rogues and scallywags might be less
well known, but their stories give great colour to our past. Even Sir
John A. MacDonald, Canada's first prime minister and the best-known
Father of Confederation, faced scandal and turmoil during his tenure.
Still, Canada's Scots brought you the RCMP, the telephone and standard
Paul Cowan takes us on an insightful, often irreverent journey from the
earliest days of exploration and fur trading through the centuries of
Canadian history. Sit back and pour yourself a nip of Scotch while he
tells tales filled with bold and outrageous characters, the Scots who
really did create Canada.