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July 1, 2023 - June 30, 2024 Vancouver

The Paper Trail to the 1923 Chinese Exclusion Act

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An exhibition that commemorates 100 years since the passing of the Chinese Immigration Act of 1923, known also as the Chinese Exclusion Act in Canada.

Catherine Clement

The exhibition features hundreds of certificates of identity documents (C.I. certificates) used to track Chinese Canadians during the Chinese Immigration Act – the most ever publicly displayed in an exhibition. The papers also were a constant reminder of a second-class status in Canada.

In partnership with the Chinese Canadian Military Museum and curated by Catherine Clement, this community-sourced exhibition, with a national focus, probes the nature of paperwork and documentation over the contested terrain of history, with a diverse array of families of Chinese descent, from across Canada contributing to the exhibition.

 C.I. Certificates
C.I. Certificates - special identity documents issued by the government to Chinese residents.

Exhibition Supporters

Paper Trail Supporters

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papertrail CI wall

Where is this exhibition?

Wing Sang Building, Vancouver's Chinatown

Wing Sang Building, Vancouver's Chinatown

51 E Pender St, Vancouver BC V6A 1S9

The Chinese Canadian Museum is now permanently at home inside the Wing Sang Building. Originally a two-storey structure built in 1889 by merchant Yip Sang, the Wing Sang Building was later expanded in 1901 and 1912, and remains the oldest building in Vancouver’s Chinatown.