Chinese Immigration to the Ottawa, Canada area
February 13, 2014:
A couple of weeks ago, Denise Chong gave a very interesting talk to the Historical Society of Ottawa. Her ancestors
came from China and she has written a wonderful book regarding the early Chinese immigrant experience in the Ottawa area.
Many of the first Chinese settlers came to small towns in the Ottawa Valley -- Brockville, Perth, Aylmer, Quebec,
Smiths Falls, Carp and Carleton Place. They began by opening Chinese Laundry businesses to an emerging middle class
and later opened the first Chinese Restaurants in the Ottawa area. The Canton, the Cathay and the Lucky Key were all
successful early Chinese restaurants in the City of Ottawa. Several small businesses near the corner of Bank
Street and Albert Street were run by Chinese families. I remember well a family named Wong who were community leaders
in the 1950's and ran a corner store in our neighbourhood.
To learn more, get a copy of Denise Chong's book Lives of the Family - Stories of Fate and Circumstance, 2013,
Random House Canada, ISBN 978-0-307-36123-3, hardcover, 222 pages.
Some of the pioneer families from China were named Wong, Joe, Sim and Hum. Denise Chong's book includes
many success stories of these and other families. Their children were all high achievers who attended Lisgar
Collegiate in the downtown neighbourhood and many went on to McGill or Queen's University.
February 17, 2014:
Here is an excerpt from Denise Chong's book, page 185. The early Chinese community came to Ottawa during
the 19th century.
There are histories of some of the Chinese pioneer settlers in the Ottawa area at Denise Chong's web site.
E-mail Allan Lewis
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