Great news for BC history and genealogy buffs. The CBC documentary about the Rev. Chan Family descendants is being shown at Heart of the City Festival on Oct 28.
Film & Conversation
REV. CHAN FAMILY LEGACY: Five Generations of Vancouver
History 1888 to 2007
Thursday October 28, 7:30pm
Centre Museum & Archives, 555 Columbia
The Chan family
first came to Canada to help start the Chinese Methodist Church and
every generation since has made contributions to Canadian society. In
2007, filmmaker Halya Kuchmij interviewed members of one of the oldest
families on the West Coast and made a documentary about the stories and
achievements of Reverend & Mrs. Chan, their sons Luke Chan
(Hollywood actor) and Jack Chan (golfer); grandchildren Helen Lee and
Victor Wong (WW2 veteran); great-grandchildren Gary Lee (entertainer)
and Janice Wong (artist); and great-great grandchildren Todd Wong
(community and cultural activist) and Tracey Hinder (high school
student). The many turns of the Chan family reflect the challenges of
exclusion, the fight for rights, the strength of family and citizenship,
and the right to vote. The festival is pleased to show The Chan
Legacy, directed by Halya Kuchmij, from the CBC Learning
Generations Series (2007, 43:37) and we are fortunate to have Todd Wong
moderate the conversation afterwards. Todd is a descendent of Reverend
Chan and the creator of Gung Haggis Fat Choy, the annual celebration of
Chinese New Year and Robbie Burns Day (www.gunghaggisfatchoy.com) –
an event that marries two cultures that once lived completely separate
in the early days of British Columbia. Everyone welcome. Free
This was the lead show in the CBC Generations series that aired
on July 4th 2007. The purpose was to interview multigenerational families across Canada, and help tell the story of Canada through the lives of that family.
I am a 5th generation great-great-grand son of Rev. Chan Yu Tan, and one of the featured stories. My grandmother's sister Helen Lee and cousin Victor Wong are both interviewed and tell stories about their grandparents Rev. & Mrs. Chan Yu Tan, whom they respectively lived with and visited as children.
Victor Wong is a WW2 veteran and shares stories about becoming a soldier for Special Forces operations with his cousins Howard and Leonard Lee, while Dan Lee was one of the first Chinese Canadians in the Airforce. All this happened at a time when Canadians of Chinese ancestry were not allowed to vote in Canada, until after the Chinese-Canadian veterans returned from WW2 and lobbied the Canadian government to repeal the 1925 Chinese Exclusion Act.
Gary Lee, also tells stories about Rev. Chan's sons Luke Chan, who became an actor in Hollywood, and Jack Chan – an avid golfer and the first Chinese Canadian to serve on jury duty.
Artist Janice Wong is shown working and attending book launches for her recipe/memoir book “Chow: From China to Canada: Memories of Food + Family”
– which shares the history of the Rev. Chan family through her father Dennis Wong, chef of Chinese restaurants in Sasketchewan, son of the Rev's daughter Rose, and Victor's brother.
13 year old Tracey Hinder is seen winning the inaugural Vancouver area Canspell contest. Tracey goes on to compete at the National Canspell in Ottawa and the Scripps in Washington DC. Tracey is interviewed as a high school student, dedicated to learning about her community and family histoy.
Todd Wong is a community and cultural activist, known for creating Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner. Excerpts from the CBC produced television performance special “Gung Haggis Fat Choy” are shown along with Todd's community commitments including the saving of the Historic Joy Kogawa House, Terry Fox Run, and dragon boat racing.