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 Canadian Pacific Railway (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 major exhibitions to showcase this collection, including The Other Side of the Gold Mountain (2010), exploring the challenges faced by the first Chinese settlers, and Painted Faces on the Prairies (2014), highlighting the place of Cantonese opera in the cultural history of Edmonton, and Mercantile Mobility: Chinese Merchants in Western Canada (2023-24), revealing the contributions of Chinese merchants to the economy of Western Canada over many years. See "New U of A Library Exhibition Honours Chinese Immigrant Contributions" by Taylor Downing inThe Quad (25 May 2023). 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