Chinese Experience in Canada

This collection offers an expansive view of the experiences of Chinese immigrants to Canada, particularly in the Prairie Provinces. While many narratives of Chinese immigration to Canada focus on the construction of the CPR, the emphasis here is on the numerous and diverse roles that Chinese immigrants played in Canada’s history. This collection explores the Chinese experience through immigration, entrepreneurship, schooling, and other elements of daily life. Among other things, it is made up of photographs, business documents, personal correspondence, and immigration records. A great deal of credit is due to University of Alberta alumna Helen Kwan Yee Cheung, who encouraged donations from the local Chinese community thus helping to build a uniquely community-based collection. Bruce Peel Special Collections has mounted a number of exhibitions that drew from this collection, including The Other Side of the Gold Mountain (2010), which explored the challenges faced by the first Chinese settlers, and Painted Faces on the Prairies (2014), which highlighted the place of Cantonese opera in the cultural history of Edmonton. Additionally, an upcoming exhibition will focus on Chinese merchants and their contributions to the Western Canadian economy. Researchers can consult the online finding aid for the collection here.

Collection Formats: 19th Century, 20th Century, 21st Century, Correspondence, Newspapers, Photographs -- click to see other collections with this format