What’s In a Name?

Chinese names consist of three parts: the surname and two given names. The surname appears first. One of the two given names is a generation name that is usually shared by others born in the same generation such as brothers and cousins. The other is a personal name.  Yip Kew Dock, Canada’s first Chinese-Canadian lawyer, […]

portrait of chinese nam in formal attire in black and white

two men talking outside a laundromat next to a telephone pole and bicycle

No Ticket, No Laundry

The early Chinese worked in laundries. Why was this such a popular business among the Chinese? First, there was a huge demand from people who needed to have their clothes washed and ironed. There were no washers and dryers in those days. Secondly, no one else wanted to go into the laundry business. Sixteen to […]

Immigration Reform and Family Reunification

Jean gained a national profile through her work in challenging discriminatory immigration legislation. For twenty-four years, the Chinese Immigration Act, also known as the Chinese Exclusion Act, halted the entry of Chinese into Canada. The result was a bachelor society, absent of women and children. After this legislation was repealed in 1947, there was hope […]

Jean Lumb sitting at long conference table signing documents. large group of male chinese delegates grouped behind table

portrait of youn chinese man in military uniform

A Passport of First World War Canadians

Nothing would stop Wee Tan Louie from volunteering in the Canadian Expeditionary Force, an astonishing display of patriotism and commitment to equal rights at a time when racial discrimination was at its height in British Columbia ̶ disenfranchisement, the head tax, and countless other anti-Chinese laws. Rejected by the army because he was Chinese (although […]

A Prescription For Living

When Canada joined Britain and France in the war against Germany, the Chinese across Canada were strongly divided. Should they volunteer to fight for a country that treated them so poorly? On the other hand, the war opened a door for them to prove their patriotism and ultimately gain the right to vote. To this […]

group of men in yard dressed in military wear kneeling and standing for group photo

old photo with large crowd of working men standing around railway line

The Last Spike

“In 1885, the Canadian Pacific Railway was completed.  The driving of the last spike at Craigellachie, British Columbia, took place on the cold morning of November 7 at 9:22 a.m. This historical event was attended by a crowd of politicians and other dignitaries. Donald Alexander Smith, Canadian Pacific Railway director, raised and struck his hammer […]

Save Chinatown Committee

In the late 1960s, Jean helped in a campaign to save Toronto’s Chinatown. She was in charge of representatives from over 40 Chinese organizations who went to City Hall to save their Chinatown. Wealthy businessmen with their own ideas about improving the downtown area wanted to tear it down and build expensive high-rise apartments and […]

Jean Lumb sitting in back of converitble down busy pedestrian street in chinatown holding a megaphone. Young girl beside her holding a lantern.

young chinese women in tradition attire standing next to small potted tree.

Chinese Woman comes to Toronto

“In the 1920s, Toronto was bigger and busier than ever. People had steady jobs and families had a place to live. There was plenty of food to go around. Until that time, most people living in Toronto had a British background but now thousands were arriving from other parts of Europe to live and work […]

Jean Lumb at the 1990 Dragon Ball

“As [Jean] said so well herself at the Dragon Ball in 1990, honouring her accomplishments – speaking to an audience of over 1,200 people – “Through the hard work and sacrifices of our forefathers, they have passed on a legacy of loyalty, honour, obedience, and respect. Through education, through the strength of family unity, and […]

newspaper cutout of Jean Lumb atteding Dragon Ball

text of a directory

The first Chinese man in Toronto

“By the late 1800s, Toronto was growing by leaps and bounds into a major urban centre. Newcomers from England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, and Italy poured into the city. This growth was largely due to the railway that linked Toronto with everywhere else in Canada. New factories sprang up to serve the rail industry, and new […]