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Title: Clip: Keith Lock discusses Toronto’s Chinatown
Date: September 3, 2009
Donor: Lock, Keith
Subject: Childhood, Chinatown, Immigration, Cross-cultural Relations
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.

‘It was a very strong community but people took shelter in each other because they only had each other. I think there was that sense that they existed in a world that wasn't welcoming and they kind of clung together in some ways.’

In this audio clip, Keith Lock describes the Chinatown of his youth and the close-knit community that was centred around Queen Street, west of Yonge Street, in Toronto, Ontario. He discusses changes to the neighbourhood as a result of increased Chinese immigration to the city.