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Moments of Chinese Canadian History

John Meare arrives in Nootka Sound on Canada's Pacific coast, with two ships and 50 Chinese carpenters and craftsmen. They build a two-storied fort and a schooner, but are later captured by the Spanish and taken to Mexico. 

The first Chinese gold-miners arrive in British Columbia from San Francisco. Chinese miners join thousands of other prospectors in the trek northward along the Fraser River. Many Chinese people who came to Canada in the nineteenth century are from Guangdong province in southern China.  Their historical arrival marks the establishment of a continuous Chinese community in Canada. 

Mrs. Kwong Lee, the first Chinese woman lands in Victoria, B.C. She is the wife of the owner of the Kwong Lee Company. 

The first Chinese community organization is formed, The Hong Shun Tang, in Barkerville. A booming little town with the largest Chinatown, including 300 Chinese resident. 

Won Alexander Cumyow is born in Victoria. He is the first Chinese baby to be born in Canada. 

The British Columbia Qualifications of Voters Act denies the Chinese and First Nations peoples the right to vote. 

Chinese-owned laundries are established in Toronto. 

A British Columbia law is passed making it illegal for Chinese people to be employed on construction projects paid for by the provincial government. 

The construction of the western section of the Canadian Pacific Railway employs thousands of Chinese workers. 

The Methodist Home for Chinese Girls opens in Victoria to help those escaping prostitution, slavery or marriage contracts. 

The federal government sets up a Royal Commission to look into Chinese immigrants. 

The Canadian Pacific Railway is completed. 

The federal government introduces the Act to Restrict and Regulate Chinese Immigration into Canada, which requires that Chinese people entering Canada to pay a head tax of $50 per person. 

Following the completion of the railway, some Chinese people start small service-oriented businesses. Many move east to centres such as Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal in search of job opportunities and less discrimination. 

The Sino-Japanese War ends a shocking defeat for China. Reform leaders appeal to overseas Chinese for help to modernize and strengthen China. 

Chinese Board of Trade formed in Vancouver. 

One of Halifax's first Chinese-owned laundries opens. 

The federal government raises the head tax to $100, to take effect in 1902. 

The Royal Commission on Chinese and Japanese Immigration holds hearings and concludes that limiting Chinese immigration will not damage trade between China and Canada. 

The federal government raises the head tax to $500. 

Newfoundland passes a law requiring all Chinese immigrants to pay a head tax of $300. 

An anti-Asian riot in Vancouver sweeps through Chinatown, and damages Chinese and Japanese businesses. The federal government pays the Chinese community $26,990 and the Japanese community $9175 for damage to their property. 

The Chinese Labour Association is organized in British Columbia. 

Toronto's YMCI (Young Men's Christian Institute) holds the first conference of Chinese students in Canada. 

Employers in British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan propose importing Chinese workers to relieve the labour shortage caused by W.W.I. 

Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia pass laws making it illegal to hire White women in Chinese-owned restaurants and laundries. 

The Chinese community challenge the law in the courts, but the ruling favours the province. 

A missionary report notes that the Vancouver has 6000 Chinese with 210 families, and Toronto has 2100 Chinese with 35 families. 

A dozen Chinese veterans who served in the Canadian Army during W.W.I are given the right to vote. 

The School Board of Victoria puts all Chinese students in one separate school. Parents take their children out of the school and place them in the Chinese public school. The boycott lasts a year until the Victoria board permits the Chinese students to return. 

The Chinese Immigration Act (the Exclusion Act) prohibits Chinese immigrants from entering Canada, with a few exceptions. Many wives and children in China are unable to join their husbands and fathers in Canada. All Chinese people already living in Canada, even those born here, have to register with the government to receive a certificate of registration. 

China and Canada are allies during W.W.II. Chinese Canadians fight with Canadian armed forces. Chinese-Canadian communities and organizations raise money for the Canadian war effort. 

British Columbia passes a law giving the vote to Asians who are Canadian citizens and fought in W.W.II. 

The Exclusion Act is repealed as a result of pressure from lobbying groups in Canada, as well as from the international community. But the Chinese are placed under the same limits on immigration as other Asians. 

Chinese Canadians are given the right to vote in federal elections. 

Chinese Canadians are also allowed to work as pharmacists, lawyers and accountants. 

British Columbia gives all Chinese Canadians the right to vote in provincial elections. 

Margaret Gee is the first Chinese Canadian woman lawyer called to the bar. 

Douglas Jung is the first Chinese Canadian elected to the federal Parliament. 

A lobbying group goes to Ottawa to appeal to Diefenbaker to change immigration to improve family reunification. 

The Immigration Act gives the Chinese the same immigration rights as other groups. Chinese immigration to Canada starts to increase with people coming from many different locations including Hong Kong, China, Australia, Vietnam and Jamaica. 

A special immigration provision grants permanent residency to Chinese students and visitors who came to Canada prior to November, 1972. 

A Chinese Canadian Youth Conference is held in Vancouver on the themes of 'Identity and Awareness.' 

Chinese Canadians organize nationally to protest the racist depiction of Chinese Canadians in a story called 'Campus Giveaway' on CTV's nationally televised current events program, W5. The protest results in the creation of the Chinese Canadian National Council. 

The Chinese Canadian National Council launches a campaign to get redress from the Canadian government for the past payments of the head tax by Chinese immigrants. 

The Chinese communities across Canada organize and join the world-wide call for democracy and human rights in response to the Tiananmen Square Massacre in China. In Toronto, a rally at Toronto's City Hall is the largest gathering ever (30,000 people) on an international issue. 

The Toronto Association for Democracy in China is incorporated. 

An anthology of contemporary writing by Chinese Canadians, Many Mouthed Birds, is published. 

Raymond Chan and Gary Mar become federal and provincial members of parliament. 

The National Conference on Youth and Alienation is held in Toronto by the Chinese Canadian National Council. It is attended by East and South-East Asians from across Canada. 

Thirty Chinese Canadians run for public office in the Greater Toronto Area local elections. 

The federal government rejects a call for redress on the Chinese head tax. 

Mina Shum's (Chinese Canadian) film, Double Happiness, wins a prize for Best First Film at the Berlin International Film Festival. 

In Toronto, one "all Chinese language" radio station becomes established, with numerous television, and print media outlets.