The model for a new Chinese Canadian Museum in Vancouver means that places throughout the province with a rich Chinese history — such as Ashcroft (shown here) — might be able to be involved. Photo: Ashcroft Museum and Archive

The model for a new Chinese Canadian Museum in Vancouver means that places throughout the province with a rich Chinese history — such as Ashcroft (shown here) — might be able to be involved. Photo: Ashcroft Museum and Archive

A Chinese Canadian Museum in B.C. is an idea whose time has come

‘The Chinese community is important to our collective history and our future’

By the Hon. George Chow

The completion of the “What We Heard” report on the Chinese Canadian Museum has me reflecting on my own family’s history in this country.

Four generations of my family have come to Canada. My great-grandfather came to work in Victoria in the 1890s, then returned to China. My grandfather came to Vancouver in 1911 and was forced to pay the head tax. Then my father came in 1955. I was only able to immigrate 10 years later. We all took similar journeys for very different reasons to make Canada our home.

We all contributed to building this province and this country. My great-grandfather worked as a labourer in Victoria, my grandfather worked on farms in Mission and ventured as far as Montreal to find work. My father worked as a cook in Victoria and Vancouver. Today, I am honoured to be Minister of State for Trade, working for all British Columbians.

During our recent public engagement, people shared countless stories similar to my own that illustrate the value of a Chinese Canadian Museum in British Columbia. People like my great-grandfather and grandfather helped build this province. Their stories need to be part of our collective narrative. Their voices need to be heard.

This past winter, nearly 500 people joined us in person, with thousands visiting our website and hundreds more sharing their comments online, to help shape the vision of a museum that will honour Chinese Canadian history and living heritage.

People shared stories of their own families and ideas of what the museum should be. The thing that came up the most often was people telling us that they want the museum to showcase the diversity of the Chinese Canadian history and culture—past and present.

Another theme that emerged from these conversations was that the story of Chinese Canadians needs to be told throughout our province, so people can experience history in the places it happened. We agree. We’re exploring a hub-and-spoke model, with regional hubs and spokes in places of historical significance around B.C.

We are working hard to make the museum a reality. We are building on the feedback we received, working with members of the community and museum/history consultants to inform our decisions.

The Chinese community is important to our collective history and our future. We must protect this history, bring it to life, and make it available to everyone. We need a museum that is a living repository of our stories, our contribution, and our culture.

The Chinese Canadian Museum will be a transformative learning experience. It will promote diversity and reconciliation among British Columbians. It will help foster a more inclusive and welcoming society. As one participant said, “When you walk out of the museum, people should feel hope.”

George Chow is the provincial Minister of State for Trade. Read the “What We Heard” report at

For more on the proposed B.C. Chinese Canadian Museum, see the story on page 13 of this week’s paper.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

Okanagan Lake (File photo)
Thompson-Okanagan ready to welcome back tourists

The Thompson-Okanagan Tourism Association expects this summer to be a busy one

Aerial view of a wildfire at 16 Mile, 11 kilometres northwest of Cache Creek, that started on the afternoon of June 15. (Photo credit: BC Wildfire Service)
Wildfire at 16 Mile now being held

Wildfire started on the afternoon of June 15 at 16 Mile, east of Highway 97

The Desert Daze Music Festival is doggone good fun, as shown in this photo from the 2019 festival, and it will be back in Spences Bridge this September. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
‘Best Little Fest in the West’ returning to Spences Bridge

Belated 10th anniversary Desert Daze festival going ahead with music, vendors, workshops, and more

Internet speed graphic, no date. Photo credit: Pixabay
Study asks for public input to show actual internet speeds in B.C. communities

Federal maps showing Internet speeds might be inflated, so communities lose out on faster Internet

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the two patients, a man and a woman likely acquired the virus in the hospital

B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth and Attorney General David Eby attend opening of the first government-run B.C. Cannabis Store, Kamloops, Oct. 19, 2018. (B.C. government)
B.C. government to allow home cannabis delivery starting July 15

Added convenience expected to persuade buyers to ‘go legal’

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
BC Green leader Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

B.C. Premier John Horgan leaves his office for a news conference in the legislature rose garden, June 3, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. premier roasted for office budget, taxing COVID-19 benefits

Youth addiction law that triggered election hasn’t appeared

A vial containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is shown at a vaccination site in Marcq en Baroeul, outside Lille, northern France, Saturday, March 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Michel Spingler
mRNA vaccines ‘preferred’ for all Canadians, including as 2nd dose after AstraZeneca: NACI

New recommendations prioritizes Pfizer, Moderna in almost all cases

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum speaks at a press conference in August 2019 about provincial government approval of the city’s change to a municipal force, joined by councillors (from left) Mandeep Nagra, Allison Patton and Doug Elford. Members of the National Police Federation claim there is still no transition plan in place although Surrey RCMP’s contract with the city is due to end March 31.(File photo)
Elections BC approves petition application for referendum on Surrey policing transition

Application was filed under Recall and Initiative Act by the widow of a Surrey murder victim

Fiery crash on the Okanagan Connector between two semis. (Facebook)
One dead after fiery Okanagan Connector crash between two semis

DriveBC estimates road won’t be open until 5 p.m.

Most Read