Kilts and family history abound during two episodes of the 6-part Generations series on CBC Newsworld
out what a 250 year old Anglophone family in Quebec City and a 120 year
old Chinese-Canadian family in Vancouver have in common.
bagpipes and kilts
+ accordion music
+ canoe/dragon boat racing
+ immigration as a topic
+ Church music
+ archival photos/newsreels of an ex-premier
+ cultural/racial discrimination stories
+ prominent Canadian historical events to show how
the families embraced them or were challenged by them
+ both featured saving a historical literary landmark.
+ younger generation learning the non-English language
Generations: The Chan Legacy features Todd Wong, founder of Gung Haggis Fat Choy, a quirky Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner, which inspired a CBC Vancouver television performance special. Todd's involvements with Terry Fox Run, Joy Kogawa House campaign and dragon boat racing are also shown.
July 29th 4pm PST / July 30th 12am
|Generations: The Chan Legacy
– Missionaries from China come to the West Coast help Westernize Chinese immigrant workers in the late 1800's.
August 5th 4pm PST
|Generations: The Blairs of Quebec
– An Anglophone family with 250 years of history in Quebec City struggles to maintain it's heritage.
documentary begins with Todd Wong playing the accordion, wearing a
kilt. He promotes cultural fusion, and in doing so, he honours the
legacy of his great, great, grandfather Reverend Chan Yu Tan. The Chans
go back seven generations in Canada and are one of the oldest families
on the West Coast.
The Chan family
Chan and his wife Wong Chiu Lin left China for Victoria in 1896 at a
time when most Chinese immigrants were simple labourers, houseboys and
laundrymen who had come to British Columbia to build the railroad or
work in the mines. The Chans were different. They were educated and
Westernized Methodist Church missionaries who came to convert the
Chinese already in Canada, and teach them English. The Chans were a
family with status and they believed in integration. However even they
could not escape the racism that existed at the time, the notorious
head tax and laws that excluded the Chinese from citizenship.
the documentary, Reverend Chan's granddaughter Helen Lee, grandson
Victor Wong, and great grandson Gary Lee recall being barred from
theaters, swimming pools and restaurants. The Chinese were not allowed
to become doctors or lawyers, pharmacists or teachers. Still, several
members of the Chan family served in World War II, because they felt
they were Canadian and wanted to contribute. Finally, in 1947, Chinese
born in Canada were granted citizenship and the right to vote.
Todd Wong, represents a younger generation of successful professionals
and entrepreneurs scattered across North America. He promotes his own
brand of cultural integration through an annual event in Vancouver
called Gung Haggis Fat Choy. It's a celebration that joins Chinese New
Year with Robbie Burns Day, and brings together the two cultures that
once lived completely separately in the early days of British Columbia.
also meet a member of the youngest generation, teenager Tracey Hinder,
who also cherishes the legacy of Reverend Chan, but in contrast to his
desire to promote English she is studying mandarin and longs to visit
the birthplace of her ancestors.
250 years, the Blair family has been part of the Protestant Anglophone
community of Quebec City. The Anglophones were once the dominant
cultural and economic force in the city, but now they are a tiny
minority, and those who have chosen to stay have had to adapt to a very
different world. Louisa Blair guides us through the story of her
family, which is also the story of a community that had to change.
senior member of the family today is Ronnie Blair. He grew up in
Quebec, but like generations of Blairs before him, he worked his way up
the corporate ladder in the Price Company with the lumber barons of the
Saguenay. Ronnie Blair's great grandfather came to the Saguenay from
Scotland in 1842. Ronnie's mother was Jean Marsh. Her roots go back to
the first English families to make Quebec home after British troops
defeated the French on the Plains of Abraham in 1759. The Marsh family
amassed a fortune in the shoe industry in Quebec City.
Marshes and the Blairs were part of a privileged establishment that
lived separately from the Catholics and the Francophones, with their
own churches and institutions. The Garrison Club for instance, is a
social club that is still an inner sanctum for Quebec's Anglo
The Blair family
Work took Ronnie Blair and his family to England in the 1960’s but his
children longed to return to Canada, and to Quebec City. Alison Blair
was the first to return, as a student, in 1972. Her brother David
followed in 1974. Both were excited by the political and social changes
that had taken place during the Quiet Revolution in Quebec and threw
themselves into everything Francophone. David learned to speak French,
married a French Canadian and settled into a law practice.
came the Referendum of 1995, a painful moment in the history of the
Anglophone community, and for the passionate Blairs. But David decided
he was in Quebec to stay, and today his children are bilingual and
bicultural. More recently his sister Louisa also returned to Quebec
City and a desire to rediscover her past led her to write a book
called, The Anglos, the Hidden Face of Quebec. Her daughter is also is
growing up bilingual and bicultural, representing a new generation
comfortable in both worlds.