Joanne Woo’s family has a long history in Calgary, Alberta. Her paternal grandfather, Lim Soon, came to Canada in 1900. His wife, Mrs. Lim Soon Dayton (Wong Shee), arrived in 1923 on the last boat to bring Chinese immigrants to Canada before The Chinese Immigration Act, 1923 came into effect, bringing about the Exclusion Period (1923-1947). The family adopted the name Dayton, after the restaurant-turned-store they operated in Calgary. The Lim Daytons’ son, William, married Marguerite Lim Dayton (née Wong) in 1939. Marguerite was responsible for operating the family grocery business along with raising three children, including Joanne. Encouraged to pursue an education by her parents, Joanne entered Business College for secretarial training. She became the first secretary of the Board of Directors of the Sien Lok Society, and has remained active in the organization ever since.
Under The Chinese Immigration Act, 1923, all Chinese Canadians – including those born in Canada – were required to register with the Department of Immigration and Colonization. Marguerite Wong was ten years old at the time this document was issued.