Issue 02: April 2011
Chinese Canadian Stories: Uncommon Histories from a Common Past is a UBC Library and SFU Library initiative, funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s Community Historical Recognition Program.
“My family has been in Canada for five generations. I’ve lived all my life in Vancouver, and what I’ve found particularly interesting is the substantial contributions we have made despite of all the legal obstacles that they’ve tried to hinder us (with). And that’s why this project should show this. Right now, our youngest two generations show no interest in Chinese history, but eventually they will. Then we will see this will take many years before we come up with something substantial.”
This past January, Chinese Canadian Stories put on a great community workshop at the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre to interact with community members and exhibit what UBC has to offer. A diverse bunch, the workshop attendees shared many of their fascinating personal stories, and showcased their current projects dealing with Chinese Canadian history.
The UBC contingent introduced one of its exciting initiatives: the forthcoming grassroots history repository that integrates social media and UBC Archives. This tool will digitally “take in” the oral histories, stories, documents, and research of the community into UBC Archives. Community members are not only going to have their stories seen by the world on UBC’s website – they will also keep the original materials.
Together we unearthed close connections and stories about Cumberland, BC; the benefits of musical groups to stave off gambling in the early years of Chinese migration to Canada; and W.A.C. Bennett, the Premier of British Columbia from 1952-72.
↑ Workshop attendees and Chinese Canadian Stories team. L-R: Back row: Denise Fong, Bill Wang, Wayne Wou, Prof. Henry Yu, Danial Neil, Dr. Fred Leung, Allan Cho. Front row: Joanne Poon, Jennifer Yip, Tina Leung, Laifong Leung, Gloria Wong, Jennifer Rodriguez, Lilly Li
↑ Listening intently to family histories
On Saturday mornings throughout February, the Chinese Canadian Stories project was broadcast to the Lower Mainland’s large Cantonese audience. Celina Luk of Fairchild Radio AM 1470 interviewed our team about the project’s importance to new immigrants, the Chinese community, student involvement, and their personal experiences working on this meaningful project.
February 5, 2011 | Professor Henry Yu and Mrs. Yu
Chinese Canadian Stories vision, and the Yu family history
February 12, 2011 | Denise Fong and Joanne Poon
Overview of the Chinese Canadian Stories project, and perspectives of first generation Chinese Canadians working on the project
February 19, 2011 | Jennifer Rodriguez and Jennifer Yip
Oral history and student experiences as Research Assistants on Chinese Canadian Stories
February 26, 2011 | Allan Cho and Joanne Poon
Chinese Canadian Stories and reaching out to the community
This March we had a delightful interview with Joanne Lee-Young for a special piece in the Vancouver Sun about Vancouver’s 125th Anniversary. We discussed Chinese Canadian history and the Chinese Canadian Stories project. Watch the videos below to see and hear the highlights of our conversations! Each clip revolves around history and our relationship with it.
Professor Henry Yu
Learning to love history (after hating it in school)
History and Hybrid Husbands
Ducks, and beyond history textbooks
Sometimes expert skills in language and history come not from the university, but from the community. In January, Chinese Canadian Stories researcher Joanne Poon organized a day-long workshop to decode early 20th-century Toishanese letters with community elders.
Featured multiple times in the Ming Pao newspaper, the fruitful day consisted of refreshments and hardworking minds. Toishanese letters from the 1900s are unique. Not only was the language spoken differently than today, it was also written in such a way that the words had to be read aloud to make sense of them.
For more on this workshop in Chinese, please click on the links below.
for the Soul
Our Chinese Canadian Stories cameras have recently been rolling in the heart of Montreal’s Chinatown capturing history as it happens. Take a peek into the selfless volunteerism of the wonton wrappers at Hôpital Chinois de Montréal (Montreal Chinese Hospital). Alejandro Yoshizawa and Elena Kusaka’s film shows how food, warmth, and a genuine wish to help the community are wrapped up in these little wontons.
Digitization with Allan Bell, Director of Digital Initiatives at UBC Library
In this month’s Spotlight Interview, learn from the Director of Digital Initiatives what projects like Chinese Canadian Stories mean to students, the community, and universities.
Ever wonder how things become viewable on your computer? Watch this video and take a gander at the technology behind digitization. Special thanks to Michael Conroy and Robert Stibravy of UBC Library’s Digital Initiatives Unit at the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre for the tour!
For all the latest news, visit
Questions & comments? Please contact:
Program Services Librarian
Irving K. Barber Learning Centre
1961 East Mall, Vancouver, BC
Phone: (604) 827-4366
Fax: (604) 822-3242