It's been an incredible experience! How often does a family get to tell their story in a national television series? I know this is also the result of a lot of hard work. In 1999, and 2000, we held the first of Rev. Chan Family Legacy reunion dinners. We were featured in the Chinese Cultural Centre Museum and Archives project: Three Pioneer Chinese Canadian families.
I have been able to preview a dvd of the show – and it brought tears to my eyes. My parents watched it with me last week, and on Friday night, we showed it to my grandmother. She was so amazed to see pictures of her grandparents – Rev. & Mrs. Chan Yu Tan… and to hear the stories about them from her sister Helen Lee and cousin Victor Wong.
There are also home movies from my great-grandmother Kate Lee's 75th birthday party from 1965. As my multi-generational Caucasian-Canadian girlfriend says – “It's like any Canadian family – this one just happens to have gone through anti-Asian racism, the head-tax, and couldn't vote until 1947.”
With film clips from WW2, Douglas Jung, Nanaimo Chinatown in the 1800's, Vancouver Chinatown in the 1950's, Vancouver's golden Jubilee celebrations – This documentary truly is a history of Chinese Canadians in Vancouver and BC.
Generations is a 6 part series and the lead installment is The Chan Legacy –
which is about my great-great-grandfather Rev. Chan Yu Tan, and our
family descendants who are committed to community service – like me!
The episodes of the series are:
Watch The Chan Legacy on
July 8, 10 am ET/PT,
July 29, 7 pm ET
Producer Halya Kuchmij is very proud of her work, and that we are the first in the series. It must be a very strong, emotional,
educational documentary. I have been an adviser and witness to many of
the interviews, as well as some of the script. I have to say it made
me very proud of our family, and the show is very emotionally
touching. And I haven't even seen it yet!
Many family members were interviewed:
- Victor Wong, grand-son, WW2 veteran and Victoria resident who visited his grandparents in Nanaimo BC.
- Helen Lee, grand-daughter, who lived with Rev. & Mrs. Chan Yu Tan in Nanaimo.
- Gary Lee, great-grandson who tells about some of the challenges overcome by the family.
- Janice Wong, great-grand-daughter, and award winning author of CHOW: From China to Canada, memories of food and family.
Larrabee, great-grand-daughter, and chief of the First Nations Qayqayt
(New Westminster) Band, featured in the NFB film “Tribe of One.”
- Todd Wong, great-great-grandson, community and cultural activist,
creator of Gung Haggis Fat Choy: Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner.
Hinder, 5th generation high school student who was the inaugural
Vancouver CanSpell champion and went on to compete in Ottawa and
Washington DC. Tracey is a member of her school's “multicultural club.”
Rev. Chan Yu Tan came
to Canada in 1896, following his elder brother Rev. Chan Sing Kai who
had earlier arrived in 1888 at the invitation of the Methodist Church
of Canada. These two brothers were later followed by sisters Phoebe in
1899, and Naomi who later moved to Chicago. Throughout seven
generations, the family has spread throughout Canada and the United
States. The Rev. Chan Yu Tan Family was featured in the photographic
exhibition Three Early Chinese Canadian Pioneer Families.
Read my blog entries about Rev. Chan Legacy Project which includes stories during the making of the documentary and events for Janice Wong's award-winning book C H O W: From China to Canada memoris of food and family.
tell all your friends and relatives about this upcoming documentary,
very informative about the history of Chinese-Canadians, and the legacy
they have built in Canada.
check out the CBC Generations home page: