Mercantile Mobility

Mercantile Mobility: Chinese Merchants in Western Canada 

Curator: Helen Kwan Yee Cheung

May 24 to Nov 30 2023

In addition to the main exhibition in Bruce Peel Special Collections, there is a summary exhibition on the main floor of Rutherford South from May 24 to August 24, 2023. This exhibition takes us on a journey through time, from the mid-nineteenth century to the end of the twentieth century, to explore what happened to Chinese immigrant workers after the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway, which they helped to build. It offers a new perspective on the history and contributions of Chinese immigrants in Canada by profiling those workers who became merchants. Showcasing materials from Peel's Chinese Experience in Canada Collection, the curator examines the distinctive socio-economic landscape where this dynamic group carved out their own niche and quietly propelled the Western Canadian economy. Their business ventures are explored through rare archival documents and images collected over a decade by the curator through a community-based process and through the ongoing acquisition efforts of the Peel library. Request a group tour of this exhibition (Monday afternoons) in Cantonese, Mandarin, or English–led by Helen Cheung, Jeff Papineau, and Michaela Morrow–by emailing The exhibition catalogue is available for purchase in person in the Peel library for $40 (cash only) or through University of Alberta Press or Indigo.

See "New U of A Library Exhibition Honours Chinese Immigrant Contributions" by Taylor Downing inThe Quad (25 May 2023).