To begin celebrations of Asian Heritage Month, the Chinese Canadian Museum was delighted to host the Louie family, the Guichon family, honoured guests, and community partners at the opening of two exhibitions at our temporary location in Vancouver Chinatown. Due to venue limitations, this special occasion was held over two evenings on May 5 – 6.
Seeds to Success: Story of the H.Y. Louie Family is produced by the Chinese Canadian Museum (CCM). A travelling exhibition titled A Tale of Two Families: Generations of Intercultural Communities and Family Lessons is produced by the Royal BC Museum. These exhibitions will be on display at 27 E. Pender St. starting on May 6 to December 2022.
At the launch on May 5, Mr. Brandt C. Louie shared his thoughts on the role of museums in preserving and sharing valuable history and lessons: “A museum in today’s world is much more than a series of exhibits housed in one location…[it has] the ability to take a stand on social issues, inform how we create the future. It is my hope that the Chinese Canadian Museum will fulfill that promise.”
Mr. Peter Rose, son of Ms. Hilde Rose and the late Mr. Guy Rose (third generation of the Guichon family), offered reflections on his experience on their family ranch and the family’s interconnectedness with the local Indigenous communities.
The program also included Minister Melanie Mark (Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport), as well as Minister George Chow (Ministry of State for Trade), and Elder Larry Grant (Musqueam), who shared fond memories and reflections on the legacies of the H.Y. Louie family.
The exhibition launch was augmented by a special presentation by community curator Catherine Clement, who gifted Mr. Louie a set of Chinese immigration registration documents that his father and grandfather were obligated to fill out. These never-before-seen documents trace back nearly a century ago when a mandatory, mass registration drive of all Chinese living in Canada was held. They were privately stored and locked away by Library and Archives Canada.*
At the second exhibition launch event on May 6, we welcomed many community partners and supporters to continue our celebration of the new exhibitions. Minister George Chow, MLA Michael Lee, and City Councillors Lisa Dominato and Sarah Kirby-Yung were in attendance. MLA Teresa Wat sent a congratulatory certificate.
We are grateful to everyone who joined us in marking the opening of “Seeds to Success” and “A Tale of Two Families”. We would like to thank the Royal BC Museum and curator Dr. Tzu-I Chung for bringing “A Tale of Two Families” to our exhibition space, our curatorial advisors for “Seeds to Success” and its curator Sarah Ling, and all the individuals who supported the Chinese Canadian Museum in making these exhibitions possible.
We invite everyone to visit “Seeds to Success” and “A Tale of Two Families” at 27 East Pender Street, on view now through December 2022.
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To view recording of the private opening on May 5, please visit our Youtube channel.
*The 1923 Chinese Immigration Act (known as the Chinese Exclusion Act) consisted of two key parts: 1) exclusion of almost all new immigrants from China; and 2) a mandatory, mass registration drive of all Chinese living in Canada, both foreign-born and Canadian-born.
The government records and personal information collected on every Chinese person during this registration drive in 1923-1924 have been locked away for almost 100 years – restricted by privacy legislation.
The Paper Trail, a project led by curator Catherine Clement to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Exclusion Act, requested the Library and Archives Canada to release these records to the community. Accessing these hidden records of our ancestors will help us better understand their world just as the Chinese community was about to enter a dark period in Canadian history.