New World,
New Challenges
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Part of the exibition " But Women did Come:150 Years of Chinese Women in North America

Most Chinese pioneers to Canada came from Guangdong province in southern China. They came to the gold fields of Barkerville in the West Coast of Canada, in 1858. From 1881 - 1885, some 15, 000 Chinese railway workers were recruited to complete Canadian Pacific Railway. Like other immigrants, men went overseas in search of work and their families remained at home.

The first Chinese women to arrive in Canada came by way of San Francisco. They were the wives and daughters of merchants because merchants were exempt from restrictive Chinese Immigration Acts. These Acts imposed a "head tax" on Chinese immigrants: 1885 - $50; 1900 - $100; 1903 - $500.

The British Colonist, Vancouver, Vancouver Island, 1860.
Dominion of Canada Certificate for Chan Shee (Mrs. Lee Sing Wei), December 31,1919. (courtesy Lee King Family Collection)
Pioneer Chinese Families were first settled in British Columbia and then gradually moved across the country. In Canada, women raised their children without the support of the extended family that life in China would have offered.

Haw Shee Chow with son George and daughter Avis, montreal, 1897. (courtesy Estate of Mrs. James Lee)

Wong family of London, Ontario, 1910s. (courtesy Reverend Ma T.K. Wou collection)
New World, New Changes
Growing up Canadian
Women at Work
Community Life
Making a Difference