New archive highlights years of racism faced by Chinese Canadians


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    New archive highlights years of racism faced by Chinese Canadians

    Seventy-one years ago Mavis Chu Lew Garland and eight of her preschool classmates were photographed on the porch of the Chinese Canadian Institute on the corner of Dundas St. W. and University Ave.

    Times were different, rather “extremely difficult,” she says, being born to a Chinese immigrant father and a white mother when interracial marriages were seen as unacceptable.

    But now, at the age of 76, Garland and her classmates have come together to recreate a photo that was taken during a period of discrimination, and now represents a snapshot of Canadian immigrant history.

    The photo, which Garland found while scrounging through old shoeboxes is just one of the artifacts donated to the Toronto Public Library as part of a three-year initiative, the Chinese Canadian archives, which opened on Tuesday at the Toronto Reference Library.

    Since the announcement calling for donations in July, the library has received hundreds of articles to commemorate the historic voices of the Chinese people in Canada. Among the collection are old photographs of the city’s first Chinese restaurants, and businesses that once existed in the area where City Hall stands today.

    But among the pieces of colourful memorabilia are documents highlighting a Canadian history of discrimination, including documentation on the racist Chinese head tax, showing how it rose from $50 in 1885 to $100 in 1900 and eventually to $500 in 1903 — at the time the price of buying two houses in Toronto.

    https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2016/12/06/new-archive-highlights-years-of-racism-faced-by-chinese-canadians.html


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