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Title: Clip: Keith Lock describes his grandmother’s arrival to Canada in 1909
Date: September 1, 2009
Donor: Lock, Keith
Subject: China, Gender, Immigration, Language
Province: Ontario
Language: ENG

Lock, Keith

Keith Lock, is a filmmaker who resides in Toronto. His work includes the documentary The Road Chosen: The Lem Wong Story and a recent feature-length film, The Ache. Keith’s grandmother, Mrs. Quong Lock, was among the first Chinese women to settle in Toronto, Ontario. So rare was the sight of Chinese women in the city that when she arrived in 1909 to join her husband the Toronto Star announced on its front page: ‘Chinese Woman comes to Toronto.’ After her husband passed away in 1933, Mrs. Quong Lock opened her own hand laundry at St. Clair and Lansdowne to support her family. Her son, Tom Lock, joined the Canadian Army during the Second World War. He and other Chinese Canadians were recruited for dangerous duties behind Japanese enemy lines. Tom arrived in Australia in 1944 for special military training, where he met Joan Lim On. They married in 1945, and Joan was permitted to enter Canada during the Exclusion Period (1923-1947) by way of an Act of Privy Council. She, along with another Chinese Australian war bride, Myrtle Wong, arrived in Vancouver aboard the S.S. Monterey in 1946. Joan and Tom settled in Toronto, where Joan was hired as microbiologist at Sick Kids hospital and Tom opened up a pharmacy in Chinatown.

‘She was one of the few women in Toronto, Chinese women, and she was probably the only one that spoke Mandarin’

In this audio clip, Keith Lock describes how his grandmother was a minority in Toronto, Ontario – one of the only Chinese women in the city and one of the only Mandarin-speaking Chinese immigrants. She was active in the Presbyterian church and kept close connections to the few Chinese women in the city at the time.