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Wong - Kung Lai - 1932

Collector/curator's description reads: “1932, Vancouver (23 W Pender). Photo of the Modernize Tailor family. L to R: Mother Man Ming (nee Chu); Anna (on lap); Jack; Father Kung Lai Wong; Helen; Bill; Unknown relative; Allan. Kung Lai Wong arrived in Vancouver from southern China in 1911 at the age of 20, and had to pay a $500 head tax. He worked for a time as a houseboy then apprenticed himself to an English tailor to learn a trade and open his own shop. For his staff, Kung Lai imported "paper relatives" from China, bachelor tailors who would never have a chance to marry. His two eldest boys, Bill and Jack, born a year apart, did everything together. As toddlers, they were allowed to play with scraps of wool and spools of thread at the tailor shop. Later, they would go help out in the shop after attending English school, followed by Chinese school. The 1950s, when the brothers took over Modernize, were prosperous years, with some 20 tailor shops operating in Chinatown. The so-called zoot suit was introduced by jazz musicians in the U.S. in the 1940s and became wildly popular with young men in Vancouver a few years later. This louche style called for wide-legged, high-waisted trousers pegged at the ankles and long jackets with wide lapels and exaggerated shoulders. Modernize produced scores of such suits. They also made costumes for Vancouver's Theatre Under the Stars musical productions and for performances at the historic town of Barkerville in the B.C. interior. The popularity of the suit began to wane in the 1960s, under the influence of such blue-jean wearing film stars as Marlon Brando. A trend toward informality in office wear followed with the introduction of "casual Fridays." Mass manufacturing of clothing in Asia meant a flood of cheap off-the-rack clothing that had not previously existed.”

Jasper National Park - Edmonton - Banff - Lake Louise - Tommy Jang emergency ward - Keefer Wholesale under construction and grand opening

Item is a family film containing scenes of a family vacation throughout Alberta, including Jasper National Park, Edmonton, Calgary, Banff National Park and Lake Louise. The film also documents the construction at Keefer Wholesale Florist at 310 Prior Street. Pre-formed concrete slabs are lifted and tilted to make the walls of a building. The construction process also documents the various companies working on the building: Lift and Tilt Concrete, Delta Masonry, B.C. Conveying Machinery, Viking Automatic Sprinkler. The final section of the film shows the opening ceremony of Keefer Wholesale with people gathering, a band playing, speeches (silent), and dancing.

Lim - But Sun family - early 1930s

Collector/curator's description reads: “Early 1930s, Vancouver. Photo of the Lim Butt Sun Family. Lim Butt Sun owned a herbal store called Kwong Chai Tong which was located at 92 East Pender St. He is shown here with his Canadian family, and superimposed is his first wife and children. Back Row Standing (left to right): Don Lim (May 26, 1925 - May 21, 2014). Became a family physician and opthamologist in Kelowna BC. Fannie Lim (November 22, 1913 - August 30, 1967). She would later marry Shong Butt Chong. On Lim (January 27, 1924 - June 4, 2007). He worked as a civil engineer in BC. Front Row (left to right):- Lily Lim (August 18, 1927 - ). Lives in San Francisco and married a Chung. Mrs. Frank Lim (wife that lived in China. She is superimposed into this photo.). Ning Lim (June 18, 1930 - September 6, 2018) (Frank's son likely born and living in China?). Mrs. Lim Butt Sun (February 12, 1889 - January 12, 1971). Bob Lim (September 18, 1929 - ). He worked as a Pharmacist in Burnaby BC. Lim Butt Sun (October 1889 - October 16, 1950). Walter Lim (March 27, 1926 - April 12, 2017). He operated the Gold Yuan Restaurant on Pender St, in Vancouver's Chinatown. Frank Lim (1910-January 11, 1998). He was the eldest son of Lim Butt Sun and continued the family business of Kwong Chai Tong until 1971. Frank's daughter. First name unknown and living in China. She is superimposed into the photo.”

Artwork - 1934 - family tree

Collector/curator’s description reads: “1934. Artwork of Family Tree created by Yucho Chow. Top row: Yip Shee Quon (aka Mrs. Yucho Chow wife #2); Mrs. Yucho Chow (wife #1); Yucho Chow. Middle row (left to right): Jessie; Rose; Bick Lin; Mabel; Peter. Bottom row: Henry; Philip; Jack; Samuel.”

Chow, Yucho

1958 : A year to remember

Item is a film containing highlights of British Columbia's centennial year in Vancouver. Includes shots of an antique car parade, a tall ship at dock, naval vessels, street decorations in Vancouver, Chinese Freemasons parade (with drill team, dragon dance, etc.), a powwow, horse racing at Exhibition Park, PNE parade, and the last of the region's interurban streetcars. Film also includes footage showing the aftermath of the Second Narrows Bridge collapse.

Mah George Fook Yu - 1945

Collector/curator’s original description reads: “1945, Vancouver. Portrait of George Fook Yu Mah in uniform. The photo has been hand colourized. The handwritten inscription reads ‘To Mamie with love, George, 1945.’ George Fook Yu Mah was born in Vancouver on October 5, 1917. His family ran a Chinese grocery and dry goods store in Shanghai Alley in Vancouver’s Chinatown. During WWII, George signed up to support Canada’s work effort. He enlisted in the Army and the insignias indicate he was attached to the WWII 2nd Armoured Brigade Tank Division. Shortly after the war, in 1947, he married Mamie Mei Ching Wong. Together, the couple would have three children: Georgina, Geoffrey and Roxane. To support his family, George worked as a foreman at the Canadian Fishing Company in Prince Rupert, BC. He was described by his children as a fun-loving character who enjoyed socializing and having a good time with friends. He liked football games, cooking and eating good food! His children recall with fondness the day George returned home from a trip to Edmonton, Alberta. He proudly showed up at home driving a 1962 Oldsmobile 98. Unfortunately, George died young. On February 9, 1965, when he was only 47, he passed away from a brain hemorrhage.”

Wong Boo Chow - c. 1920

Collector/curator’s description reads: “C. early 1920s, Vancouver. Photo of Wong Boo Chow. He arrived in 1912 and worked in the logging industry primarily on Vancouver Island. In 1923, the Chinese Exclusion Act became law and he lost hope that he could ever bring over his family over from China. By November of 1923, he arranged to marry a much younger, Canadian-born Chinese woman -- Mah Suey Hang, the daughter of a merchant from Cumberland Chinatown. After three children and a difficult marriage, their fight over custody of the children made newspaper headlines in 1931 in both Chinese and English-language papers. The Wong Benevolent Society came to Boo Chow's rescue and helped him finance his custody battle. In the end, Boo Chow managed to keep two of his children, his sons, with him in Canada. Although he more or less neglected them and the two boys grew up in boarding houses without much oversight.”

Tremblay - family - 1940s

Collector/curator's description reads: “Circa 1942-43, Vancouver. Photo of the Tremblay family. Parents Fred & Emma are seated, with their 5 children standing. Fred & Emma Tremblay (seated) are pictured with their five children (L-R) Art, George, Freddie, Blanche and Bernie. Fred & Emma, both of French descent, immigrated to Vancouver from North Dakota (via Saskatchewan) in the late 1920s. Upon arrival, Fred opened Vancouver Auto Clinic on Keefer Street in Chinatown with his brother Alec. This is where Fred must have known Yucho Chow, as this family portrait was taken several years after Fred opened his solo business, Tremblay Motors, in Kitsilano in 1934. Fred, nicknamed Chief, later enlisted his four sons into the family business and renamed it Tremblay & Sons Motors (also the oldest Chevron dealership in Canada). Many Vancouverites passed through the garage doors and drove up to the gas pumps at Tremblay's on the corner of 4th & MacDonald, where it proudly stood until 1993. Unfortunately, the last member in this family portrait passed away in 2013. However, many of Fred & Emma's grandchildren, great grandchildren, and now great great grandchildren still call the Lower Mainland home. Photo Courtesy of Linda Tremblay, whose father Bernard (1931-2001) is pictured far right.”

Goon Ling Dang w wife and Betty - 1920

Collector/curator's description reads: “1920s, Vancouver. Photograph of businessman Goon Ling Dang, his wife Wong Shee and Betty Goon. Goong Ling Dang was a respected and influential businessman in Vancouver's Chinatown. When he passed away, even the English newspapers covered his passing. Betty Goon was not the daughter of Goon Ling Dang, but she was related in some way: a Goon from the same village in China. Betty originally was slated to be a maid to the wealthy Goon Ling Dang family, who over the years had of number of ‘mui tsai’ (child servants) working in their house. However Betty became a permanent playmate/friend to Pearl Goon, one of the patriarch's daughters. She was considered family and was included in every family function. ‘Mui tsai’ (which means ‘little sister’) were female child servants who [were] adopted and worked in the homes of wealth[y] Chinese. The girls often came from impoverished families. The promise made to the birth family was that as the girl came of marriageable age, the adopting family would arrange for her to be married.”

Lane - Leonard and Adeline - wedding - 1949

Collector/curator’s description reads: “October 1, 1949, Vancouver (518 Main Street). Wedding portrait of Leonard and Adeline Lane. Bio Leonard Lane: Leonard was a staff person in the BC Association for the Advancement of Coloured People. He was also one of the original members of the Unity Credit Union, which extended loans to members of the Black community. He was the Credit Union's treasurer for 8 of its 9 years. Lenora, the daughter, asked Adeline about her memories of Yucho Chow and the day the photo was taken. Adeline "...doesn't remember that much but she said my dad asked some other Black people in the community where they should go for pictures and Mr. Chow's name came up. They went to his studio to have the photos taken. A good guess would be that his studio was in Chinatown as the community around the AME church was not very far from there. My mom says he was very nice and made them feel comfortable and welcomed. She doesn't remember if he spoke good English but says it must have been pretty good as there was no problem understanding each other. She remembers when they got there he had them remove their coats and said Okay, let's get to it! She remembers someone showing them where and how to stand but whether it was Mr. Chow or someone else she doesn't know.’"

Alaskan Scenery and the Chinese Exhibit at Vancouver's Golden Jubilee

Item is a moving image/film documenting a Chinese performance at Vancouver's Golden Jubilee celebration that includes a theatrical stage show, a trapeze artist, and moving images of the Chinese Arch erected at Pender Street near Carrall Street. There are also images of an unknown beach. This section is preceded by the title frame: Chinese Exhibit Golden Jubilee at Vancouver, B.C.. Film also includes footage taken from a passanger ship moving up the Alaskan coast. The stops are separated by the title frames: Ketchikan, Alaska; Castle Rock; and Peril Straits.

[Boundary] Bay - [Tsawwassen] Ferry - Gee How Oak Tin Assn - Nature Bridge of Yoho Park - Lake [Louise] - Rogers Pass - Can Alpine Aqua

Item is a film containing footage of the Chin family collecting driftwood at the beach, views from aboard the ferry and of the Tsawwassen ferry terminal, a gathering of the Gee How Oak Tin association in the Chin Wing Chun building, exterior shots of storefronts on the 500 block of Main street, vacation footage in Yoho Park, Lake Louise and Roger's Pass and scenes in the Alpine Aqua canning factory.

Mah - Moon Yuen family

Collector/curator's description reads: “Circa 1922, Vancouver. Photo of the Mah family. Mah Moon Yuen (1878-1943), with his wife Lee Lin Choy (1897-1993) and their adopted children Robert Sing Mah (1921-1981) and Adeline Mah (later Wong). Both children had been adopted and were believed to be of mixed race: Chinese and Aboriginal. Yuen, who is quite thin, worked in a sawmill and the family stories say he would walk each day from Chinatown to his job in New Westminster. Lee Lin Choy was purchased at the age of 8 as a maid for a wealthy family. Subsequently, the family immigrated and lived in Victoria BC. Eventually a marriage was arranged for her to a man who was 20 years her senior (my grandfather in the photo). He died (about) 1942 and Poh was a widow for 50 years. She adopted these two children with him.”

Nazell family 1945

Collector/curator's description reads: “1945, Vancouver. Maj-Britt Nazell (20) with her parents, Samuel and Christina Nazell. The family immigrated from Sweden in 1927 after a fire destroyed their farm. Maj-Britt recalls this was her favourite dress and she bought it on a lay-away plan, as she did with most of her clothing at that time. The dress was, grey, as shown in this photo. However, in an identical hand-painted photo, the dress tinted blue which helps Maj-Britt stand out in a rather monochromatic photo. During the war, Maj-Britt found herself frequently in Chinatown after a party or dance, enjoying Chinese food at WK Gardens until the wee hours of the morning. ‘It was an adventure.’ Her father ran a rooming house on East Hastings.”

Nazell - 1945

Collector/curator's description reads: “1945, Vancouver. Maj-Britt Nazell (20) with her parents, Samuel and Christina Nazell. The family immigrated from Sweden in 1927 after a fire destroyed their farm. Maj-Britt recalls this was her favourite dress and she bought it on a lay-away plan, as she did with most of her clothing at that time. The dress was, in fact, grey. And in an identical hand-painted photo, the dress is grey. However, in this image, the dress has been tinted blue and helps the attractive young woman to stand out in what is otherwise a monochromatic photo. During the war, Maj-Britt found herself frequently in Chinatown after a party or dance, enjoying Chinese food at WK Gardens until the wee hours of the morning. ‘It was an adventure.’ Her father ran a rooming house on East Hastings.”

Kwan Grace

Collector/curator’s description reads: “1936, Vancouver. Hand-painted full length portrait of Grace Kwan, the Chinese Jubilee Queen. Photo was been taken outside the studio. Kwan was one of several jubilee queens crowned in the year that the City of Vancouver celebrated its 50th anniversary. Grace Kwan was 18-years-old when she was crowned Miss Chinese Jubilee Queen. It was 1936 and was celebrating its 50th birthday. Chinatown joined in the festivities by creating a fair ground complete with gates and pagoda. Grace was crowned local queen in a colourful ceremony at WK Gardens Chop Suey Restaurant. Later, she would go on to marry one of the owners of the WK Gardens, Harold Lim. She died at age 29.”

Chinese Fairgrounds opening - March 24, 1928

Collector/curator's description reads: “1928, Vancouver. Won Alexander Cumyow (left) and Vancouver Mayor L.D. Taylor at the grand opening of the Chinatown fairgrounds. In Paul Yee's book [Saltwater City], a slightly different version of this photo is accompanied by the caption ‘Opening of the Chinese Playground, 1928, behind the southeast corner of Pender and Carrall Streets. Standing by the stage is Won Alexander Cumyow, and on stage is Mayor L.D. Taylor.’ The banner lists, in Chinese, the schedule/line-up for the opening ceremony: ‘Grand Opening Line-Up; Group gather; Students play army song; unveiling; President speech; Vancouver Mayor Speech; Sing China National Anthem; Take Photo; Student Parade Proclaim 3 times, "Long Live the Republic of China"; Awards/Memorabilia "gold plaque"; Pass out Candies; End of Ceremony.’

Grant, Howard - 1940s

Collector/curator's description reads: “1947, Vancouver. Full-length photo of child Howard Grant. Howard was born and raised in the Musqueam community. His mother was a member of the Musqueam Indian Band while his father was an early Chinese immigrant. Because Howard was not forced to attend Indian residential school due to his Chinese heritage, he had the opportunity to immerse himself in Musqueam teachings from the elders among whom he grew up. However, his Chinese roots were never far away. This photo, taken in Chinatown in 1947 where his siblings spent part of their childhood, symbolizes the dual world that Howard was exposed to as a child.”

Lum - Tommy Ming

Collector/curator’s description reads: “Vancouver. Circa late 1920s. Ming (Tommy) Lum can to Canada in June 1922. He was a paper son: He posed as the son of his real-life brother. Consequently, Ming had to say he was younger than he really was. He was 18 when he arrived in Canada, but his head tax certificate recorded him as being only 13. He arrived in Canada in 1922 and on his Head Tax Certificate his name was recorded as Lim Joe Ming. Ming at first worked with his brother selling groceries from a horse and cart in Chinatown. In 1927 he opened Canada Produce. Ming died in 1987.”

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