The Chinese Canadian head tax campaign brought a lot of Chinese Canadian pioneers and pioneer descendants together with immigrants both recent and older.
I first met Victoria Yip, when she participated in the 1986 “Saltwater City exhibit” chaired by Paul Yee. Victoria had loaned her Chinese costumes for display for the exhibit. She also attended the 1996 Saltwater City planning committee reunion that I organized with David Wong. Victoria Yip and my grand mother sat together. Everybody marveled that these two women could look so well at 85 and 86 years old.
The The Yip Sang Family is one of Canada’s most famous and well-known Chinese-Canadian families. There is a display of items featured at the “Generations to Generations” display at the Chinese Cultural Centre Museum and Archives. It was reading about the Yip family reunion that helped inspire me to create reunion dinners for the Rev. Chan Family in 1999 and 2000
Here’s a statement by CCNC
November 16, 2007
CCNC Statement On The Passing of Three Community Leaders
Toronto . CCNC National President Colleen Hua issued the following statement on the passing of Mr. James Marr, Mrs. Victoria Yip and Mr. Ying Hope:
“This week I learned of the passing of three community leaders: Mr. James Marr of Edmonton , Mrs. Victoria Yip of Ottawa and Mr. Ying Hope of Toronto . On behalf of the Chinese Canadian National Council and the Chinese Canadian community, I extend our sincere condolences to the families and friends of Mr. James Mah, Mrs. Victoria Yip and Mr. Ying Hope. These three individuals were leaders in the Chinese Canadian community and we are a stronger community and Canada is a better country because of their public and community service.”
“Mr. James Marr was one of the few living head tax payers to ride aboard the Redress Train to witness the June 22, 2006 Parliamentary apology in Ottawa . Mrs. Yip tirelessly served the community and was featured in books and TV documentaries on the few Canadian-born Chinese women who lived through the Chinese Head Tax and Exclusion Act era. Mr. Ying Hope was born in Victoria and attended high school with (late) Douglas Jung, and later settled in Toronto where he was elected and re-elected on the School Board and City Council for more than two decades.”
“Our elderly pioneers are starting to pass away including the second generation sons and daughters. We recognize these three community leaders for their trail-blazing contributions in removing barriers for future generations. CCNC urges the Canadian Government to begin a genuine, inclusive and respectful reconciliation with our seniors who directly suffered from legislated racism and exclusion.”
Some obituaries from media sources:
MARR, James (MAH JIN YUET) September 14, 1911 – November 7, 2007 On November 7, 2007, James Marr of Edmonton passed away at the age of 96 years. He is survived by his sons, Tom and Dean; daughters, Ngan Tang Wong, Mae Mak, Lily (Thomas) Welsh, and Jeannie (William) Chow; 12 grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; sister-in-law; as well as numerous nieces and nephews. James is also survived by his sister and her family; all of Hong Kong . He was predeceased by his wife; daughter; younger brother; and a great-granddaughter. A Funeral Service will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, November 16, 2007 at the Howard & McBride Chapel of Chimes Funeral Home, 10179-108 Street, Edmonton . Interment to follow at Beechmount Cemetery . Howard & McBride Chapel of Chimes, (780) 422-1141
Victoria Yip (nee Lore) Loving wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother passed away peacefully at the age of 96 years on November 11, 2007 in Ottawa, Ontario. She was predeceased by her husband Quene (1994), who she faithfully supported during their 62 years of marriage. She was born in 1911 in Victoria, B.C, the first child of Chinese scholar Lore Neen and Chan Ling Ching. Her father instilled in her an appreciation of art, nature, beauty, and a love of learning. At the age of eleven, Victoria ‘s mother passed away, leaving her to care for three younger sisters (Louise, Mary, Helen) and two younger brothers (Martin, Abraham), while still attending Chinese school and English school. She later taught at Chinese school, while working to help support the family.
In 1935 she married Quene, 16th son of Chinese Canadian patriarch, Yip Sang, and over the years Victoria became a beloved member of this very large and well known Vancouver family. In 1942, Victoria and Quene left Vancouver with their young family and settled in Blubber Bay , a small coastal community on Texada Island , where Quene worked as a chemist. Over the next twenty-five years, while caring for three growing boys, Victoria actively participated in many community activities such as the PTA, recreation association, United Church , and bridge clubs. She also taught painting, brought in a Shakespearean play, and even produced and directed a play featuring local children.
She was renowned for her fabulous Chinese meals and made many lifelong friends on the island. Victoria welcomed and extended her hospitality to all those around her, regardless of whether they were blood relations or not. In 1967, Victoria and Quene moved back to Vancouver where she later worked as a buyer in Ming Wo Cookware. In 1980, she officially retire but continued to share her stories and experiences in the film Saltwater City and the book Voices of Chinese Canadian Women, as well as with Chinese Canadian historical writers like Paul Yee and Wayson Choy.
Two other artistic passions in her life were Chinese opera, which she attended in Victoria and Vancouver in the 1920’s and 1930’s, and oil painting, which she pursued in her fifties and sixties. In 2003, Victoria moved to the Amherst nursing home in Vancouver . Two years later, she moved to the Glebe Centre nursing home, and she spent her final days at the Ottawa General Hospital .
The family wishes to express their gratitude to the staff for their dedicated and compassionate care, and special thanks to her wonderful caregivers and especially to Carolina and Ann. Victoria will be lovingly remembered for her strength, generosity, kindness, love and devotion to her family and her many, many friends and relatives. She is survived by sister Louise, sons Rick (late Angeline), Randall (Brenda Austin) and Robert (Lisa), grandchildren Jill, Andrew, Karen, Jennifer (and partners), and Sophie, Melissa and Alison and also great grandchildren Benjamin, Andrew and Eveline.
Service and interment will be held Saturday, November 17, 10:30 am, at Forest Lawn cemetery, 3789 Royal Oak Avenue , Burnaby , BC . In Victoria ‘s memory, donations may be made to the charity of your choice.
Published in the Vancouver Sun and/or The Province from 11/15/2007 – 11/16/2007.
From Toronto Star:
Head-tax apology his crowning triumph TheStar.com – News – Head-tax apology his crowning triumph
Former city councillor was a family man who was immensely proud of his Chinese-Canadian heritage
November 14, 2007
Ying L.K. Hope wasn’t the type to sit around and complain – he wanted to make change happen.
That’s why at age 40, Hope took on the rough-and-tumble world of Toronto politics, becoming the first Chinese-Canadian to serve on the Toronto school board, and later on the city and Metro councils.
“What he wanted to do was make life better for his family by improving the community around us,” recalled his son, Michael.
Hope died in his sleep Monday at Sunnybrook hospital. He was 84.
Born in Victoria , Hope studied math and engineering at the University of Washington in Seattle before moving to Toronto in 1948, where he ran a successful engineering consultancy.
He launched his political career in 1963 at the Toronto Board of Education. Six years later, he was elected as alderman and represented Ward 5 for eight terms, until the late ’80s.
Though he led a very public life, Hope remained a family man at heart. He spent as much time as he could with his children, taking them out to lunch every Sunday after church, Michael Hope said.
Hope “had the best old-fashioned values that you don’t see much of any more,” his son said.
He was also very proud of his Chinese-Canadian heritage, a pride he strove to instill in his children.
He used his political clout to demand a public apology from the Canadian government for the Chinese head tax, a discriminatory fee charged for each Chinese immigrant in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Hope’s own grandparents were part of a wave of cheap labour imported from China to work on the railways and in mines, all of whom had to pay the notorious tax.
The government’s official apology last year was Hope’s crowning achievement, his son said.
Hope then seized the chance to fulfill another long-time dream. Along with a coalition of Chinese- Canadian groups, he helped chronicle the struggles of that community in an exhibit earlier this year.
Though out of politics for years, Hope worked until recent months as a civil engineer and real estate agent, a career he began at 70.
Relatives gathered yesterday at the family home in Toronto . Hope leaves behind his wife of 14 years, Audrey, and four children, Jim, Judy, Michael and Madeline, from his first marriage to Alice Hope.
The viewing is set for tomorrow from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. at the York Cemetery chapel, 160 Beecroft Rd. A funeral will take place Friday at 1 p.m.