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Title: Clip: Keith Lock talks about his mother’s war bride status
Date: September 3, 2009
Donor: Lock, Keith
Subject: Discrimination, Exclusion, Immigration, Marriage and Dating
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.

‘As [my mother] was leaving, the Australian official said to her, ‘You’re welcome to come back to Australia any time, as an Australian citizen, but don’t bring your husband, and don’t bring your children.’’

Tom and Joan Lock married in Australia during World War Two, but Australian and Canadian immigration policies rendered the couple stateless until an Act of the Privy Council allowed Chinese war brides to enter Canada. Their son Keith Lock recalls his mother’s anger at being told that her war veteran husband and any children they may have were not welcome in Australia because they were Chinese.