A Scattering of Seeds: The Creation of Canada
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THE ROAD CHOSEN: The Story of Lem Wong
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  1. Victoria's Chinatown National Historic District

    For many decades, Victoria was the main port of entry for Chinese immigrants to Canada. Victoria's Chinatown recalls that era. This four-block district is the oldest surviving Chinatown in Canada. From the mid-19th to the early-20th century, Victoria's Chinatown had the largest Chinese population of any city in Canada.

    It features buildings entirely typical of their period and many distinctive elements such as colourful flared roofs, narrow passageways and hidden courtyards, which speak of the citizens' cultural roots. In 1909, the Chinese residents built their own school. It is till used for community programs. The Gate of Harmonious Interest was erected in 1981 to emphasize the cultural character of the district.

      Address: Dr. David C. Lai
      Department of Sociology,
      University of Victoria,
      Victoria, BC
      V8W 3P4


  2. The Chinese Cemetery National Historic Site

    This place, chosen in 1903 for its harmonized elements of nature expressing the principles of feng sui, is a significant legacy of the first Canadians of Chinese origin. Traditionally it was a sanctuary of temporary repose before final internment in China, a pattern which reflected the early aspirations of these immigrants to return to their homeland. After the Sino-Japanese war broke out in 1937, it was no longer possible to ship remains back to China. At a mass reburial in 1961, bones from across Canada, long since readied for China, were finally laid to rest there.

      Address: See Victoria's Chinatown


  3. Commemoration of the Construction of the CPR Railway by the Chinese

    This commemoration includes a plaque located at Yale, British Columbia, which reads:

    "In the early 1880s contractor Andrew Onderdonk brought thousands of labourers from China to help build the Pacific Railway through the mountains of British Columbia. About three-quarters of the men who worked on the section between the Pacific and Craigellachie were Chinese. Although considered excellent workers, they received only a dollar a day, half the pay of a white worker. Hundreds of Chinese died from accidents or illness, for the work was dangerous and living conditions poor. Those who remained in Canada when the railway was completed securely established the basis of British Columbia's Chinese community."


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