Taking pride in Chinese history

A writer commends the Lions and Rotarians for cleaning and maintaining the Ashcroft Chinese cemetery.

Dear Editor,

It was so good to read about the on-going restoration of the Chinese cemetery in Ashcroft (“Rotary and Lions team up to clean Chinese Cemetery”, March 31). It was a project dear to the heart of the late Ken Kidder of Ashcroft. I recall his concern about its neglect years ago; he would have been so pleased to see it in its present condition.

I discovered the cemetery in a visit to Ashcroft in 1970. Evidence of the site near the CPR rail track was then a few tombstones, almost covered over with weeds. It was a startling discovery at the time. I was new to the area, and had no knowledge of the contribution made by the Chinese in Ashcroft. When I moved to Ashcroft in 1973, I researched the rich heritage left by the Chinese community in Ashcroft, and have since written about it for The Pioneer and The Journal.

In 1981, Alfred Chow of Ashcroft brought to my newspaper office a history of his family and the family’s general store, Wing Chong Tai, which he had written. It was a very fine piece of writing, and The Pioneer was privileged to print it. The article remains in the “morgue” of The Pioneer in the Ashcroft Museum.

Dr. Sun Yet Sun visited Ashcroft in 1910, I believe, and I was told he raised $100,000 to help overthrow the corrupt Manchu dynasty. Can you imagine this distinguished visitor arriving in dusty old Ashcroft, and the pride of the Chinese community. It must have been something!

There is so much rich history here. When the Chow’s general store closed in 1981, it was a historic event. The whole of Chinatown was put to the torch, destroyed forever. Only a few years later did people realize what they had lost. Described by a Heritage Trust Canada official as “The finest streetscape in Western Canada”, little did most of us realize that the avenue of false front shops, sheds, and gardens was a priceless heritage.

Like Barkerville, the restoration of old Chinatown here could have created a flourishing tourist industry. Hindsight, as they say, is 20-20 vision.

Esther Darlington

Ashcroft

 

 

Just Posted

Lincoln Mckoen. (YouTube)
Anglican bishop of the central Interior resigns over sexual misconduct allegations

Lincoln Mckoen was elected as a bishop of the Territory of the People region last year

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

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

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Golden Ears Mountains, captured in May 2021. (Black Press Media files)
2nd year of day passes required for entry into 5 provincial parks launches in B.C.

Pilot program seeks to protect the environment by addressing visitor surges amid the COVID-19 pandemic

The former Kamloops Indian Residential School on the Tk’emlups te Secwépemc reserve. (Allen Douglas/Kamloops This Week)
Tk’emlups preparing for archaeological work at B.C. residential school site where remains found

The 215 graves are, to the band’s knowledge, undocumented deaths for which it is still collecting records

Fans watch the warm-up before Game 6 between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens in NHL playoff hockey action Saturday, May 29, 2021 in Montreal. Quebec’s easing of COVID-19 restrictions will allow 2,500 fans to attend the game for the first time in fourteen months. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Two-thirds of Canadians say governments shouldn’t lift all COVID-19 restrictions

Poll reports Canadians who gained pandemic weight say they have gained 16 pounds on average

Paul Bernardo is shown in this courtroom sketch during Ontario court proceedings via video link in Napanee, Ont., on October 5, 2018. Teen killer and serial rapist Paul Bernardo is set for a parole hearing today. The designated dangerous offender, has been eligible for full parole for more than three years. Bernardo’s horrific crimes in the 1980s and early 1990s include for kidnapping, torturing and killing Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy near St. Catharines, Ont. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Greg Banning
Killer rapist Paul Bernardo faces parole hearing today; victim families opposed

Designated dangerous offender has been eligible for full parole for more than three years.

People look over the damage after a tornado touched down in Mascouche, Que., north of Montreal, Monday, June 21, 2021. Dozens of homes were damaged and one death has been confirmed. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
One dead and extensive damage as tornado hits Mascouche, Que., north of Montreal

Damage reported in several parts of the city, and emergency teams dispatched to sectors hardest hit

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

Most Read