Kelowna monument honours hardships of Chinese-Canadians - InfoNews

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Kelowna monument honours hardships of Chinese-Canadians

Chinese at work on C.P.R. (Canadian Pacific Railway) in Mountains, 1884.
Image Credit: Library and Archives Canada/Credit: Boorne & May/Ernest Brown collection
December 03, 2016 - 11:45 AM

KELOWNA – A monument unveiled today in Kelowna recognizes the contributions of Chinese-Canadians to B.C's history and economy. 

More monuments recognizing the hardships of Chinese-Canadians are in the works, according to a release from the government of B.C.

This large granite monument, installed in the pioneer section of Kelowna Memorial Park Cemetery, is the first of 15 interpretive signs, plaques, and monuments to be placed in communities across the province.

This monument follows the 2014 apology given on behalf of the B.C. legislative assembly to Chinese-Canadians for wrongs committed by the government.

"The monument will also serve as a permanent reminder of the racism, discrimination and hardships faced by Chinese-Canadian pioneers who lived and worked in the area during the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Many pioneers also worked in Kelowna's agriculture industry on farms and in orchards, and some of their descendants still live there," the release states.

Locations were recommended by the provincial Legacy Initiatives Advisory Council. The LIAC works with Chinese-Canadian communities to advise government on Chinese legacy projects.

The federal government is contributing $100,000 in Chinese legacy funding for this province-wide memorial project.

"Many of the Chinese-Canadians being remembered today were victims of racist laws and policies that permanently separated them from their families in China - my great grandfather was one of them," LIAC Member Shui Lee says. "This monument honours their memories and their sacrifices and stands as a permanent reminder of their contributions to Kelowna and to B.C."

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