Monthly Archives: September 2006

What Is A Canadian?: 43 Thought-Provoking Responses – Check out this new book!

Following a year that saw CBC TV's “The Greatest Canadian” and CBC
Radio's “
BC Almanac's Greatest British Columbians” – there is a book

Book Description
Each of these essays begins with the words
“A Canadian is . . .”. Each one is very different, producing a
fascinating book for all thinking Canadians.

Studin is an idealistic young Canadian who wanted to do something
extraordinary for his country. So he decided to approach leading
Canadians — he calls them “sages” — to tell us what they believe
defines us. The people who responded eagerly, to produce an essay of
1,500 to 2,000 words, are, in his words, “all distinguished Canadian
thinkers and achievers from all walks of life — politics, the civil
service, academia, literature, journalism, business, the arts — from
both official language groups, and from all regions of the country, as
well as from the Canadian diaspora.”

The strength of this book
lies in the contributors, listed in the sidebar. The variety ranges
from the funny — “A Canadian is . . . someone who crosses the road to
get to the middle” (Allan Fotheringham) through the hostile — “. . .
the citizen of a country badly in need of growing up” (William Watson)
through the surprising — “. . . adaptable. To illustrate, consider the
depth and breadth of the Canadian woman’s wardrobe” (Jennifer Welsh) or
celebratory — “. . . a wonderful thing to be” (Bob Rae).

A Canadian is . . . certain to find this book fascinating.

Fotheringham, Thomas Homer-Dixon, Roch Carrier, Jake MacDonald, George
Elliott Clarke, Margaret MacMillan, Thomas Franck, Rosemarie Kuptana,
Gérald A. Beaudoin, Peter W. Hogg, George Bowering, Christian Dufour,
Paul Heinbecker, Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, John C. Crosbie, Audrey
McLaughlin, Roy MacGregor, Charlotte Gray, Hugh Segal, Janet
McNaughton, Sujit Choudhry, Aritha van Herk, L. Yves Fortier, Catherine
Ford, Mark Kingwell, Silver Donald Cameron, Guy Laforest, Maria
Tippett, E. Kent Stetson, Louis Balthazar, Joy Kogawa, Wade
MacLaughlan, Douglas Glover, Lorna Marsden, Saeed Rahnema, Denis
Stairs, Valerie Haig-Brown, Guy Saint-Pierre, William Watson, Doreen
Barrie, Jennifer Welsh, Bob Rae

Hmmm… definitely a great list of thinkers.  Whom have I met?  Joy Kogawa is now a friend.  I have met writers George Elliott Clarke and George Bowering a few times.  I saw Roch Carrier just on Sunday at the Word on the Street Festival, I can add Audrey McLaughlin to my list…  I would love to meet Charlotte Grey!

Of CBC's top ten Greatest Canadians – David Suzuki lives in Vancouver
Of BC Almanac's top ten Greatest BC'ers – David Suzuki and Nancy Greene are still alive
“What Is A Canadian” contributers – several live near Vancouver: George
Bowering “Canada's first poet-laureate”, Joy Kogawa, Valerie
Haig-Brown is the daughter of eco-pioneer Roderick Haig-Brown and lives on Vancouver Island.

Maybe I can propose an essay collection for “What is Chinese-Canadian?” or “What is Asian-Canadian?”  Would Kristin Kreuk be availalble or Jon-Kimura Parker? 

'Chinese Canadians,' or 'Canadian Chinese' (with or without the hyphen)

'Chinese Canadians,' or 'Canadian Chinese' (with or without the hyphen)

It's almost as interesting as the question: “What is a Canadian?”  But, truly… What is a “Chinese-Canadian?”

I used to think it was like being a French-Canadian, but instead of my ancestors being from France, they came from China.  Presto!  I am a Chinese-Canadian.

But then I discovered that French-Canadians have different historical and parliamentary differences.  In 1985 I spent 2 weeks in Montreal and Quebec City, trying to speak French exclusively.  I learned that  being “Quebecois” is different from being a “Quebecker.”  A Chinese-Canadian friend went to Montreal, and phoned me saying “Guess what? I'm not Chinese-Canadian anymore, now I'm an Anglophone!”

So… what is a Chinese-Canadian, or a Chinese (un-hyphenated) Canadian?

Susanna Ng asks the question on her weblog “Chinese in Vancouver.” She cites a study by Julianne Rock titled “We are Chinese Canadian: The Response of Vancouver's Chinese Community to Hong Kong Immigrants, 1980-1997.”

Susanna finds it interesting to discover that the “established” Chinese Canadian community (pre-1967) felt threatened by the new immigrant waves from Hong Kong during the 1980's, because of different values and cultures.  As one of the Hong Kong immigrants, she “didn't realize the Hong Kong Chinese were seen so much as an outsider by established Chinese Canadians then.”  She goes on to “comtemplate about the recent wave of immigrants from China
and how we – the Hong Kong Chinese now the established Chinese
Canadians – responded. We see big differences in
culture/habits/behaviours between 'us' and 'them.'”

I find Ms. Ng's article interesting and I look forward to meeting with her. After growing up in Canada amongst Chinese-Canadian pioneer descendants, then making friends with each of the subsequent Chinese immigration waves in the 70's, 80's and 90's – it is clear to me that each immigrant wave brings different cultures and regionalities of location and time.  This is similar to each of the different ethnic immigration waves that came to Vancouver's Strathcona neighborhood: Jewish; Russian; Chinese; Hong Kong; and Vietnamese.

The Vancouver / Canadian “Chinese-Canadian” community is itself very
diverse and multicultural. Fact: China is many times larger than
Europe, and filled with many “types” of Chinese ethnic groups. So it
makes sense that there should be as many “types” of Chinese people, as
there are European peoples.

I have made this point many times, especially when organizations try to
label “somebody” a “representative” of the Chinese community. It's like
asking somebody to be representative of the “white community” or the
“Canadian community.”  I once went to a CBC Radio breakfast meeting of “Chinese community representatives” and was shocked to see so few multi-generational born in Canada pioneer descendants.  Most were Chinese language speaking immigrants.

As a 5th generation Canadian, it's not surprising that Chinese-Canadian
pioneer descendants from prior to the 1923 Exclusion Act would feel
threatened by the massive immigrant waves from; post-1967 with a new
immigration point system; 1980's Hong Kong exodus; recent Taiwanese
immigration wave; and recent Mainland China immigration wave. 

Nor is it surprising that ethnic Chinese immigrants from Hong Kong,
would find themselves resentful of the new recent immigrants who don't
integrate easily.  These complaints are not as harsh as the sentiments of the White
Canadian (largely immigrant) population that created both the 1885-1923 Chinese head
tax, or the 1923-1947 Exclusion Act, when they said that the Chinese would not integrate into Canadian
society stating, “We don't want Chinamen in Canada, This is a white man's country and white men will keep it.” or “The people of Canada do not want to make a fundamental alteration to the character of our population.”  Hmmm… did anybody ask First Nations if European or Asian immigrants could come to Canada?

It was great when many of the post 1990 immigrants joined the Head Tax redress movement. Gabriel Yiu, Thekla Lit and Bill Chu really represented the immigrant-Chinese community very well.  The BC Coalition of Head Tax Payers, Spouses and Family was a very cooperative work group of both Canadian-born pioneer descendants, China-born sons and daughters of pioneers who couldn't come to Canada because of the head tax / exclusion act – but came 1947-1967, and immigrants who arrived post 1967. It was an issue that brought Chinese Canadians together across the country, not dependant upon their regional or historical immigration culture or history.  Yiu, Lit and Chu spoke in many Chinese language debates in the Chinese media, as many pioneer descendants like myself do not speak Chinese (In 1967 – who would have ever thought that so many ethnic-Chinese immigrants would come to Canada, overnumbering Canadian-born pioneer descendants?).  A Georgia Straight article titled Head Tax Unites Activists summarized this alliance very well.

The reality is this: after a few generations everybody gets
inter-married, and calls themselves Canadian. In the between-time, new
immigrant Chinese will call themselves “Canadian” to distinguish
themselves from the homeland they have recently left, than they will
call themselves Chinese-Canadian, to distinguish themselves from
mainstream white-Canadians, then as families inter-marry, they will
call themselves Canadian.  Full circle.

Below is an excerpt from Susanna Ng's article.

We are 'Chinese Canadians'

I found an interesting study done by Julianne Rock for her master thesis at SFU. The title of the study is “We are Chinese Canadian: The Response of Vancouver's Chinese Community to Hong Kong Immigrants, 1980-1997“.

indicates that local born Chinese and post-1947 immigrants comfortably
called themselves “Chinese Canadian” after the establishment of the
multiculturalism policy. However, the term “Chinese Canadian” was even
more important to these groups of Canadians of Chinese descent when
Hong Kong Chinese began their exodus to Canada in the 80s, whom were
seen as people refusing to integrate into Canadian society.

Rock states:

speaking about nationality, older Chinese Canadians who were either
born in Canada or who immigrated in the post war years are adamant
about their identity as Canadian first and foremost.

And she quotes how prominent Vancouver architect felt about the “invasion” of the Hong Kong Chinese:

Thom, a Vancouver architect with ties to the Chinese Cultural Centre,
called himself a “true-blooded, third generation Canadian” and admitted
that he is “getting the uncomfortable feeling now that, because [he] is
of Chinese heritage, [he] is looked upon as an immigrant again.

notes the lavish lifestyle of the Hong Kong Chinese has made older
immigrants/locally born feel threatened and “concerned about a possible

read more: We are 'Chinese Canadians'

Fred Wah is new Writer-in-Residence for SFU 2006-2007

Fred Wah is new Writer-in-Residence for SFU 2006-2007

Congratulations to Fred Wah. He is being welcomed as the new Writer-in-residence
for Simon Fraser University. Fred is an amazing poet, and former English professor
at University of Calgary, now living in Vancouver.

Fred has been a featured poet for the 2006 Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns
Chinese New Year Dinner, as well as the 2006 Gung Haggis Fat Choy World Poetry
reading at the Vancouver Public Library.

Fred loved the concept of "Gung Haggis Fat Choy" as he is multicultural inside and out,
celebrating his Swedish, Irish, Scottish and Chinese heritage.

The following came to me from SFU English professor Roy Miki:

The reception will feature welcome comments by SFU President Michael Stevenson,
followed by a reading by Fred Wah. It is open to all members of the Simon Fraser
University community as well as the Vancouver arts community.

Wednesday, September 27 2006
Harbour Centre, Simon Fraser University
515 West Hastings Street at Seymour
7:30 – 9:30 pm

About Fred Wah

As a poet, public intellectual, editor, and educator, Fred Wah is one of Canada's most
influential and respected writers. His best-known works include Diamond Grill (NeWest
Press, 1996), So Far (Talonbooks 1991) and Waiting For Saskatchewan (Turnstone
Press, 1985), the last of which won the Governor-General's Award for poetry. He was
one of the founding editors of Tish at UBC and has been involved with a number of
literary magazines over the years, such as Open Letter and West Coast Line. As a
professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Calgary until his retirement,
he was instrumental in helping to develop one of the most successful and highly creative
writing programs in Canada.

For Writers

Fred Wah will be available for consultation at Simon Fraser University during the
academic year of 2006-2007. To contact him please call the Department of English
at 604-291-3136. For information on the Writer-in-Residence Program, please consult
the Department of English website (

With Thanks

Sponsored by the Writer-in-Residence Program with funding assistance
from the Canada Council, the Office of the President and the Dean of Arts
and Social Sciences, Simon Fraser University.


Roy Miki wins SFU's Nora and Ted Sterling Prize in Support of CONTROVERSY

Roy Miki wins SFU's Nora and Ted Sterling Prize in Support of CONTROVERSY

l-r: Rev. Tim Nakayama, Roy Miki, Joy Kogawa and Todd Wong
- at the inaugural One Book One Vancouver event for Obsasan May 2005.

Congratulations to Roy Miki, English professor at Simon Fraser University,
and noted advocate for Japanese Canadian Redress. This has been quite
the year for Roy, as he was awarded the Order of Canada earlier this year.

Roy Miki, truly is an amazing person. His book of poetry "Surrender" recieved
the Governor General's Award for Poetry in 2005. I first met him in 1994, when
I interviewed him for an article about Asian Canadian arts and culture in the
SFU student newspaper The Peak.

Last year our paths crossed several times, at the opening event for One Book One
Vancouver when Joy Kogawa's
book Obasan was presented. Roy has been an advisor
the Kogawa House Committee, and read at events for the Save Kogawa House
campaign, such as the Joy Kogawa Emily Kato book launch, and the Chapters
event titled Joy Kogawa & Friends.

In 2005, Roy was the featured speaker for the UBC/Laurier Institution lecture on
, which I reviewed.
During the last federal election, I read his book
Redress: Inside the Japanese Canadian redress movement. It's an incredible read,
and I found it very pertinent to my advocacy role for Chinese Canadian head tax redress.

The following message is from Simon Fraser University:

The Nora and Ted Sterling Prize in Support of

In 1993 Nora and Ted Sterling established a prize at Simon Fraser
University to honor "work which challenges complacency and that
provokes controversy or contributes to its understanding."

Please join us for presentation of the 2006
Nora and Ted Sterling Prize in Support of Controversy

Roy Miki

Recognizing his long pursuit of justice and fairness in seeking
redress for the wrongs inflicted upon Canadians of Japanese descent
during the Second World War. A professor of English at Simon Fraser
University and winner of the 2002 Governor-General's award for
poetry, Dr. Miki will read from, and discuss, his work.

Transformations: The language of redress

Wednesday, October 11, 7 pm
Reception follows
SFU Vancouver
Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue
580 West Hastings Street (enter from Seymour St. courtyard)

Sponsored by the Vice-president, Academic.
This event is free but reservations are required:
call 604.291.5100 or email

Susan Jamieson-McLarnon
Director, Public Relations
Simon Fraser University Vancouver
515 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, B.C. Canada V6B 5K3

Fun Day at Word on the Street

It was a fun day, at Word On the Street

I always check out Word on the Street Book and Magazine fair, held annually at Library Square on the third Sunday of September.

I arrived to find Ian Hannomansing of CBC TV's Canada Now, introducing the national librarian of Canada – Mr. Roch Carrier, author of the classic children's book (and NFB animated short), “The Hockey Sweater.” 

My girlfriend Deb spent some time volunteering at the Kogawa House display, organized by The Land Conservancy of BC.  It was only a year ago, that Joy Kogawa's childhood home was threatened with demolition, the same weekend that WOTS occured last year, and we presented Joy with a Community Builder Award, from the Asian Canadian Writers's Workshop at the Ricepaper magazine 10th Anniversary Dinner.  What a difference a year makes.

We couldn't stay long because we had to pop off to a dragon boat practice, but returned immediately after practice.

We arrived back at the mainstage with a few dragon boat paddlers in tow, just in time to watch the IMPROvisors on the mainstage in the south plaza of Library Square.  What a surprise to see Diana Bang performing!  I first met Diana while she was performing with her “other” sketch comedy group – Assaulted Fish (a salted fish – get it?)

I dropped by the tent for Ricepaper magazine and Asian Canadian Writers' Workshop at the Magazine Mews.  It was great to see friends Don Montgomery and the Ricepaper gang.  A big surprise to see my cousin/author Janice Wong signing copies of her book CHOW: From China to Canada – memories of food and family. So sorry I missed seeing Evelyn Lau who had been at the tent from 1-2pm.

Up the street at the Harbour Publishing tent, I got a nice hug from my friend Marisa Alps.  I first met her when I interviewed her for a 1995 article I wrote about Asian Canadian writing and the Go For Broke Revue (the precursor to explorAsian's Asian Heritage Month Festival in Vancouver).  I bought several “hurt” copies of The BC Almanac Book of Greatest British Columbians. It's a great book, and I can remember showing Joy Kogawa her listing under the chapter Top 10 Authors.

Then just a few feet away from me at the Tradewind Books tent, I spot my friend Elizabeth Sheffrin – usually known as a textile artist.  She created the wonderful Middle East Peace Quilt.  It turns out that Elizabeth is now a book illustrator for Abby's Birds, written by Ellen Schwartz. The book isn't out in stores yet – but Tradewind did have copies at the tent.

And Trevor Lai always has his booth set up, where he draws pictures of Ralphy the Rhino.  Trevor has self-published a series of children's books following Ralphy's adventures.  Trevor is an amazingly talented artist, who can whip up large sketches and tell a story as kids listen and follow intently.

Just before I left, I bumped into Ron Mah, who was carrying petition for the Chinese Head Tax Redress.  It's important that a true redress honours each head tax certificate -not just the surviving head tax payers and spouses who are still alive.

And I even saw an accordion performed today.  Poet Rowan Lipkovits did a reading at the Poetry Tent, accompanied with a small accordion.  At the end of the day, we bumped into each other and shared some accordion talk.  He e-mailed me later… with an idea to perform together for Co-Op Radio… something about an accordion program.  Sounds interesting!

Wow!  What a day!

Gung Haggis Sunday afternoon dragon boat practice Sept 24th

On Sunday afternoon – we had a great paddle.

Gerard, Teresa, Stephen M., Tzhe, Barbara, Steven W., Rita, Joe and
myself showed up to paddle, Deb steered.  We went all the way to Cambie
St. Bridge – with a short rest to simulate Ernest jumping out of the
boat on the beach to grab a traffic cone, then jump back in the boat –
then we paddled back to Dragon Zone – all to do a dry run for UBC Day
of the Long Boat – about 1500m. 

back to the dock, we found Pirates paddlers Ian and Cory – who had just
finished attending “Body Worlds 3” at Science World – stepping onto an
Aquabus.  They asked us for a ride to Granville Island (of course we
made them paddle), and Dan joined us too!

Again – we paddled all
the way to Cambie St. Bridge, paused for a short rest to simulate
Ernest hopping out to grab a traffic cone.  Then we paddled all the way
to Granville Island.  We made good time with only 13 paddlers.  We are
doing a longer stroke with a “kick” before the exit.  Excellent for
creating a glide.  These paddlers are going to take it up to the next
level for a strong foundation for next year's team!

And then Deb and I hopped back over the The Word on The Street – to check out the displays, say hi to friends, and buy some great books!

Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team – BBQ wrap up dinner

The Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team had a season wrap up dinner last night. 

Guess what?  We cooked Haggis Won Ton!!!

many hands make haggis won ton

the boiled version

close up

The haggis has been thawed and
mixed with chopped celery.
Steven, Ernest, Queenie, Angie
& Jane

presentation is everything.
Ernest displays the goods.

Check out photos at

A BIG BIG thank you to paddler Dan for hosting the team bbq. 
Dan is a 2nd year paddler who has really blossomed as a paddler. 
He loves the sport so much now, that last year in his rookie season he
joined a team going to San Francisco.  This year, in addition to
paddling 7 events with Gung Haggis, he also paddled in Calgary and
Kelowna with Acme Dragons, and will soon be going to Philadelphia to
paddle dragon boats.  We love Dan, and we are happy to share
him.  He has a real big heart!

And that's what we want on our team – good hearted people with big hearts!

was great that we had 30 people there, with so many absentees sending
good wishes.  This year we built up a large roster of paddlers for
the team.  We did not have to go outside our roster for races at
Lotus Barnet, ADBF Regatta, Alcan, Vancouver Taiwanese, or Vernon
races.  We joined up with Tacoma for the False Creek Women's
regatta and with the Pirates for Victoria.  In Kent we brought a
full crew with paddlers from 4 other teams, but only at the Cultus Lake
Women's regatta did we have to “borrow” paddlers for our races.

Deb and I constantly this year, had said – “this is the best Gung Haggis team ever!”  

– no medals for the team this year – but really good friends, great times, overnight road
trips (Kent, Vernon, Victoria), lots of paddle events (9).   WOW!

This was the first time we ever cooked haggis at a team event.  Usually
we do a wrap up at a Chinese restaurant – but we never ever brought out
a haggis other than the BIG Gung Haggis Fat Choy: Robbie Burns Chinese New Year dinner.

thanks to Deb and Ernest for bringing the haggis and the won-ton
wrappings, for everybody pitching in to wrap, and for Jane cooking the
won tons, boiled, deep-fried, + boiled haggis (pictures to come).

Special thanks
to Julie, for teaching Polynesian Dancing, and to Marian for playing
Nova Scotian tunes on my accordion.  We will have to do something for
the next kilts night at Doolin's on Oct 5th.  Maybe at 8pm – we can do
our singalongs.

thanks to Rita for creating the photo montage.  It's a wonderful
collection of memories from our paddling summer.  Hopefully we can
create a 8 1/2 X 11 photo for everybody.  Deb and I are very
thankful to the team for the this gift and the many others, for our
efforts in coaching and managing this wonderfully fun dragon boat team.

was great hearing everybody singing together for “When Asian Eyes Are
Smiling” and “My Haggis Lies Over the Ocean”, + Loch Lomand (You Take
the High Road).  And… wonderful to hear Ernest singing  Auld Lang
Syne in mandarin Chinese.

Many many more thanks to everybody for attending, contributing and being a part of our special team spirit.

Peace &
Blessings, Todd

Word On The Street – Book and Magazine fair at Library Square!

Word On The Street – Book and Magazine fair at Library Square!

It's the annual Word on the Street Book and Magazine fair.  Come to Library Square on Sunday Sept 24th.
There's lots of activities, performers, readers, book sellers, displays. check out the program:

One of my favorite annual events is Haiku Night in Canada.  It's
kind of a slam poetry event, where performers/writers “face-off”
against each other, go through elimination rounds, and end up a winner.

My friend Fiona Tinwei Lam will be there reading.  She is the
author of a poetry collection titled “Intimate Distances.” 

Ricepaper magazine
and Asian Canadian Writers' Workshop will have display at the Magazine Mews.

The wrap-up event for One Book One Vancouver, for the Vancouver Public
Library, will take place.  Last year, it was highly emotionally
charged because we had just discovered that Joy Kogawa's childhood home
was threatened with demolition.  And Joy's book Obasan, was the
2005 OBOV choice.

Margaret Cho VS Sheryl Crow

Hmmm… what do I see tonight?
Margaret Cho or Sheryl Crow?

Both are performing in Vancouver Tonight.  Cho is a headliner for the Vancouver Comedy Festival, at the Orpheum Theatre.

Sheryl Crow is on tour with John Mayer, playing at the Pacific Coliseum.

Margaret Cho is that fabulous comedian, and star of that former
American sitcom tv show All America Girl, which tried to portray a
Korean-American family.  The misguided producers actually hired a
consultant to help Cho became more “Asian.” 

Cho went through depression, after the show was cancelled, and rebuilt
herself into a stunning comedienne with hit shows such as “I'm the One
that I Want,” and “Revolution”  – filled with her biting satire,
wit and commentary on race issues in America.

Sheryl Crow is the rocker, who is also known as Lance Armstrong's
latest ex, as well as the singer/songwriter of such hits as All I Want
to Do, Strong Enough, and Soak Up the Sun.  I really like Crow's
rootsy approach to music, with feet in folk, rock and country. 
She even produced Dixie Chicks' version of Landslide, originally
written by Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac fame.

So this Friday night, Margaret Cho or Sheryl Crow?
Asian American social issues or good rockin' music with a rootsy feel?

Well… John Mayer is opening for Sheryl.  A good pop musician who can really play the blues with Eric Clapton or BB King.

Ticket bought… going to see Sheryl.   And she's even a
breast cancer survivor too!  Gotta love a gal who can play the

Georgia Straight: Asian-history anniversaries begin to coalesce (by Charlie Cho)

Chinese Canadian history is alive and well in Vancouver and really beginning a renaissance.  The Chinese Canadian Historical Society of BC (I am a member) is active.  The Vancouver Public Library has been doing great stuff with their Chinese Canadian genealogy website.  The Chinatown Revitalization Committee is active.  And the BC Coalition of Head Tax Payers, Spouses and Familes are active.

Check this nice article by Charlie Cho in the Georgia Straight.  Charlie interviews leading Vancouver Chinatown historians such as Dr. Henry Yu of UBC, and Jim Wong-Chu.

They talk about the historic Anti-Asian riots in 1907 by the Anti-Asiatic League of Vancouver.  It was a scary night in Vancouver. A while back, I talked with tailor Bill Wong of Modernize Tailors, and he referred to it as Vancouver's own “Crystal Night” because so many store windows were broken.


Asian-history anniversaries begin to coalesce

By charlie cho

History is never neutral. Framing is everything. Take Vancouver’s anti-Asian riots of 1907.

September 7 of that year, the Asiatic Exclusion League led a parade to
City Hall at Main and Hastings streets, calling for an end to Asian
immigration to British Columbia. More than 8,000 people, including
local politicians, labour leaders, and members of fraternal
organizations, rallied with banners reading Stand for a White Canada.

2,000 could fit in City Hall, so crowds drifted to Chinatown, a block
away. A rock thrown through a store window touched off a rampage of
smashed signs and glass, and looting that continued into neighbouring
Japantown, where the crowd faced some resistance before police showed up to quell the violence.

the following days, Chinese and Japanese armed themselves with guns,
preparing for another siege. They held a general strike, refusing to go
to their jobs in homes, restaurants, and mills.

Lyon Mackenzie King, then federal deputy minister of labour, held
hearings on the riot. Almost a year later, damages were awarded:
$26,000 to the Chinese, $9,000 to the Japanese.

Henry Yu, an
associate professor of history at UBC, sees 2007 not just as the 100th
anniversary of the 1907 riots but marking three other key years in the
history of Asian immigration to Pacific Canada: 1947, 1967, and 1997.