Anita Davida Wong (née Joh) was born in Vancouver, British Columbia. Anita was one of a number of Canadian-born Chinese youth who socialized at roller skating parties and group outings in Vancouver in the 1930s and 1940s. She met her husband, George Wong, at one such outing. In the mid 1940s, Anita became one of the first Chinese Canadian women to attend nursing school at the University of British Columbia, earning her Bachelors degree in 1948. She also became the third Chinese Canadian public nurse hired by the City of Vancouver, despite some reservations expressed by the hiring committee about hiring an ‘Oriental’. She and her husband, a World War Two veteran, were turned down for a city-owned apartment on the basis of race, even though Anita was employed by the city. The couple lived in Veteran’s housing and raised three children. Today, Anita credits hard work, education and religious faith as the things that have guided her through hardship. At the time of the interview, Anita continued to reside in Vancouver and was an active member of the Chinese Presbyterian Church.
Anita Wong’s generation of Canadian-born Chinese youth was one caught between two worlds – between the Old World customs of their parents’ generation and the English-speaking youth culture. Churches in Chinatown sponsored youth groups aimed at bringing together this unique generation of tusheng, or Canadian-born Chinese. In this photo, a teenaged Anita Wong (née Joh) smiles towards the camera as she and her friends gather for Chinese food after a skating party.