Chinese Canadian history takes its place on British Columbia’s map

posted on May 15, 2015

By BC News Release | Link to Article 

British Columbia’s map of historical sites soon will be expanding and becoming more culturally diverse.

By BC News Release | Link to Article 

British Columbia’s map of historical sites soon will be expanding and becoming more culturally diverse.

British Columbians have nominated 77 places they would like recognized as historically important to Chinese Canadian history. Today Teresa Wat, Minister of International Trade and Minister Responsible for Asia Pacific Strategy and Multiculturalism, has released the full list contained in the Historic Places Nomination Report.

The list paints a rich picture of the contribution Chinese Canadians have made to the province that allow everyone to enjoy today’s prosperity and freedoms.

A second milestone marked at today’s event is the launch of the Province’s new Chinese Historical Wrongs Legacy Initiative Online Resource:

This project addresses the Chinese Historical Wrongs Consultation Final Report recommendation that a resource be created to profile legacy projects and other web-based information related to Chinese historical wrongs. This resource includes:

  • A historical account of the Chinese experience in British Columbia.
  • The consultation process, including written submissions and speaker notes from the extensive provincewide consultation process culminating in the Final Report recommendations.
  • The historic apology on May 15, 2014, where Premier Christy Clark committed Wat to implement the report’s recommendations.
  • The purpose, membership and roll of the Legacy Initiatives Advisory Council created to support those projects.
  • Descriptions of legacy projects and progress made to date.
  • Additional references to historical wrongs information and resources related to the history and contributions of Chinese Canadians to British Columbia.

The online resource will grow as new project deliverables and related material celebrating the Chinese community’s historical achievements and contributions are added.

It was one year ago that all Members of the Legislative Assembly passed a motion and apology to the Chinese community for historical wrongs committed by past provincial governments. Today’s announcements, made at the Chinese Pavilion in Mountain View Cemetery, were complemented by Wat participating in a ritual inspired by the Qingming Festival ceremony that roots back 2,500 years.

This is the first time the B.C. government has paid respect to B.C.’s Chinese ancestors at a cemetery through this type of ceremony, which involves the descendants and families of those who have passed away gathering at burial sites to honour the dead and to reflect on their legacies and impact on the living.

The ceremony is still practised today throughout British Columbia, especially in cemeteries where Chinese Canadians are buried. It is only in the last 100 years that discriminatory burial practices were erased, allowing Chinese British Columbians to be buried in a non-segregated cemetery.

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