150 years of BC Stories: The Rev. Chan Family

CBC is helping to celebrate 150 years of BC history.  There is a website collecting family stories and pictures
Check it out: http://www.cbc.ca/bc/features/150/your-story.html

The 60th wedding anniversary of Rev. and Mrs. Chan Yu Tan (holding flower bouquet), August 15th 1934.

I have submitted a short story about my great-great-grandfather Rev. Chan Yu Tan:

Rev. Chan Yu Tan ministered to the Chinese pioneers who built the railroad, searched for gold, as well as became shop keepers and labourers in Vancouver Chinatown, Victoria Chinatown, and later Nanaimo and New Westminster, where he eventually retired.  The Chinese Methodist Church also helped teach English.  Rev. Chan Yu Tan emphasized learning Canadian ways, and it showed in his family.  His son Jack loved playing golf, and eventually  became the first Chinese Canadian to serve on jury duty.  His youngest son Luke became an actor in Hollywood.  The sons of daughters Rose and Kate –  Victor Wong, Daniel Lee, Howard Lee and Leonard Lee, enlisted in the Canadian armed forces during WW2,  eventually helped to gain Chinese-Canadians the vote in 1947, and later help organize the Chinese Canadian veterans associations.

Rev. Chan Yu Tan’s great-grand daughter Rhonda Lee Larrabee became Chief of the Qayqayt First Nations Band, and subject of the NFB film “Tribe of One”.  Another great-grand daughter Janice Wong, became an internationally known artist and author of the book CHOW from China to Canada. a memoir book of family history and recipes from her father’s restaurant.

Our family history has been an integral part of Chinese-Canadian history, and I have recently addressed the cross-ethnic fusion of culture and marriage with my event Gung Haggis Fat Choy, a mixture of Robbie Burns and Chinese New Year.  There have been inter-ethnic marriages in every generation of our family – each of my maternal cousins have married non-Chinese.

I helped to tell the story of our family’s 7 generational BC history, in the CBC documentary Generations: The Chan Legacy . http://www.cbc.ca/documentaries/generations

This picture is at Rev. and Mrs. Chan Yu Tan’s 60th wedding anniversary in New Westminster.  4 generations are included in this picture.

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