Rev Chan Yu Tan is inaugural Golden Mountain Achievement Award winner as the Victoria Chinese Commerce Association celebrates the 150 year history of Chinese-Canadians.
Rev. Chan Yu Tan was one of the first Chinese ordained in Canada. He arrived in Canada in 1896, at age 33, following his elder brother Rev. Chan Sing Kai, who had arrived in 1888 at the invitation of the Methodist Church of Canada.
The Victoria Chinese Commerce Association has launched an ambitious awards program that will be celebrated at the Empress Hotel in Victoria BC, coinciding with BC 150 celebrations. see www.150goldenmountain.ca.
Rev. Chan Yu Tan, my great-great-grandfather, is the first pioneer award recipient to be named for the
“British Columbia Lifetime Cultural or Multicultural” 2008 Golden Mountain Achievement Award. Through the Chinese Methodist Church, he helped teach the congregations about Canadian ways, and to live a Christian life. The Church was also the first organization to provide English language classes to Chinese immigrants. Rev. Chan always emphasized learning to adapt to Canadian ways and culture, and was always wearing Western clothing.
Rev Chan Yu Tan ministered to Chinese people in Victoria, Vancouver, Nanaimo and New Westminister.
Our family now has reached the 7th generation, and is spread throughout North American with descendants being active in the communities of Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, Victoria, as well as Seattle, San Jose, Los Angeles and Colorado.
Our family has become very integrated into Canadian and American society. Rev. Chan's son Luke became an actor in Hollywood. Grandsons became Canadian soldiers during WW2 when they couldn't vote. Subsequent generations became a lawyer, a doctor and even an Indian Chief – as well as a city councilor in Calgary, a CBC television news reporter in Vancouver, and even a Miss Canada 2nd runner up.
Here's a picture of Rev. & Mrs. Chan Yu Tan with Rev. Chan's sister Phoebe on the far left. Standing behind them are son Solomon and daughter Kate (my great-grandmother). Standing beside them are sons Jack and Luke; in front is daughter Rose, and between them is the young Millicent.
Read the Press Release from the Victoria Chinese Commerce Association.
Reverend Chan Yu Tan Wins the
“British Columbia Lifetime Cultural or Multicultural”
2008 Golden Mountain Achievement Award
Join Us in Celebration
The Victoria Chinese Commerce Association (VCCA) and the 150 Years In Golden Mountain Celebration Committee are acknowledges the tremendous contributions Chinese people have made to British Columbia since the province’s beginnings in 1858 by hosting an awards gala dinner on August 8, 2008 and a celebration pageant on August 9, 2008. The presenting sponsors for both events are RBC Royal Bank and Fairway Market. The celebrations are presented with the support of BC150 (the Province of British Columbia), the City of Victoria, and with the participation of the Government of Canada.
Sinclair Mar, chair of the celebration committee, illuminated the importance of the Golden Mountain Achievement Awards; “these awards are to honour the achievements of Chinese Canadians in the areas of business, the arts, culture, education, public service and community service. We also want to honour our pioneers and those who have helped the Chinese over the years.”
An independent Awards Selection Committee has reviewed nominations for the Golden Mountain Achievement Awards from all across the country, with nominees spanning generations from early pioneers to more recent contributors still, active in the community. The independent selection committee has completed the challenging task of choosing award winners from 150 years of worthy nominees. While not all award winners will be released prior to the Awards dinner the VCCA is pleased to announce the late Reverend Chan Yu Tan as the winner of the “British Columbia Lifetime Cultural or Multicultural 2008 Golden Mountain Achievement Award”.
Reverend Chan Yu Tan was born in Canton, China and immigrated to Canada's West Coast in 1896 with his wife, Wong Chiu Lin. He was one of the first Chinese in Canada to be ordained as a minister. Reverend Tan always stressed the importance of multiculturalism and his legacy of cultural fusion lives on amongst his predecessors. His great-great-grandson, Todd Wong, is the creator of the decade old Vancouver tradition, the “Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner”; an event which mixes traditional Scottish and Chinese celebrations together in the city of Vancouver. Great-granddaughter, Rhonda Lee, has also exercised her great-grandfather’s gift for multiculturalism, becoming the chief of the New Westminster band, the Qayqayt.
This award, along with others, will be presented at the sold out Gala Awards Dinner at the Fairmont Empress to his surviving family. Hotel on August 8 (08/08/08, an auspicious “triple 8” in Chinese culture). The next night the VCCA, will present a celebration pageant at the Royal Theater where award winners have been invited to attend and enjoy the premiere of an original pageant. Join them is celebrating 150 years of Chinese Canadian Achievements.
Mr. Mar elaborated on the Pageant: “This will be an exciting original show, with many performers: actors, dancers and musicians. Chinese history will come alive with a mixture of cultural presentations and new choreography and new music composed specially for this celebration. Ticket sales are strong and we recommend early reservations.
President of the VCCA, Amanda Mills, said “Members of the VCCA feel it is their privilege and duty to celebrate and honor their ancestors and those Chinese Canadians who have achieved so much in 150 years of service to Canada.”
For more information, please contact celebration chair Sinclair Mar at 250-382-5744 or VCCA president Amanda Mills at 250-727-0222, or visit www.150goldenmountain.ca.