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Other Name
SPARKLER
Date Range From
1950
Date Range To
1960
Material Type
Artifact
Materials
PAPER, COPPER, PHOSPHORUS
Catalogue Number
P19970041395
Material Type
Artifact
Other Name
SPARKLER
Date Range From
1950
Date Range To
1960
Materials
PAPER, COPPER, PHOSPHORUS
No. Pieces
4
Height
0.3
Length
20.7
Width
5.2
Description
RECTANGULAR BROWN PAPER ENVELOPE WITH BLUE LOGO SHOWING A MONKEY SITTING WITH A BURNING SPARKLER IN HIS HAND. TOP READS "ELECTRIC SPARKLERS" AND BOTTOM HAS "CIERGES MAGIQUES". ENVELOPE PACKAGE CONTAINS THREE SPARKLERS WHICH ARE 16.9CM LONG COPPER SHAFTS WITH GREY PHOSPHORUS COMPOUND ON ENDS.
Subjects
PUBLIC ENTERTAINMENT DEVICE
Historical Association
LEISURE
History
DONOR RELATES THESE HAVE SPECIAL MEMORIES ASSOCIATED WITH THEM BECAUSE SHE USED THEM TO PERFORM A PLAY SHE WROTE IN GRADE FIVE. HER FAMILY WAS THE ONLY ONE WHO HAD SPARKLERS AND HER PLAY WAS A TREAT FOR THOSE WHO WATCHED BECAUSE THEY HAD NEVER SEEN SPARKLERS BEFORE. THE NAKAYAMA FAMILY WAS ORIGINALLY FROM VANCOUVER BUT MOVED TO COALDALE FOLLOWING THE SECOND WORLD WAR WHEN THEY WERE INTERNED AT SLOCAN CITY IN THE INTERIOR OF BRITISH COLUMBIA BY THE CANADIAN GOVERNMENT. THE DONOR'S FATHER, REV. CANON G.G. NAKAYAMA, WAS AN ANGLICAN MINISTER IN VANCOUVER, AND THEN ESTABLISHED THE CHURCH OF THE ASCENSION IN COALDALE IN 1945 WHERE HE SERVED UNTIL 1970. SEE RECORD P19970041001 FOR EXPANDED BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION AND PERMANENT FILE FOR FURTHER HISTORY.
Catalogue Number
P19970041395
Acquisition Date
1997-01
Collection
Museum
Less detail
Date Range From
1995
Date Range To
2000
Material Type
Artifact
Materials
COTTON, LEATHER, WOOD
Catalogue Number
P20190005003
  2 images  
Material Type
Artifact
Date Range From
1995
Date Range To
2000
Materials
COTTON, LEATHER, WOOD
No. Pieces
1
Length
94
Width
24.5
Description
STUFFED COTTON PUPPET WITH LIGHT BROWN HANDS AND FACE; PUPPET HAS CURLY WHITE HAIR WITH TWO WHITE AND BLACK ADHESIVE-BACK EYES AND RED CUT-OUT MOUTH. PUPPET IS DRESSED IN BLUE AND WHITE SUIT JACKET WITH TWO BRASS BUTTONS ON FRONT, A WHITE SHIRT WITH ONE WHITE PLASTIC BUTTON, A BLACK BOWTIE, BLACK VELVET PANTS, AND BLACK LACE-UP LEATHER SHOES WITH RUBBER SOLES. CLOTHING IS SEWN ONTO PUPPET; SHOES HAVE TEXT INSCRIBED ON BOTTOM, “WILLITS”. LEFT HAND OF PUPPET HOLDS A WOODEN CONDUCTOR’S BATION WITH BLACK RUBBER END TIP, AND HAS ATTACHED TO HAND A BRASS ROD WITH WOODEN HANDLE. PUPPET HAS MINOR FRAYING OF THREADS; SHOES ARE SCUFFED; OVERALL VERY GOOD CONDITION.
Subjects
PUBLIC ENTERTAINMENT DEVICE
TOY
Historical Association
EDUCATION
History
ON FEBRUARY 5, 2019, COLLECTIONS TECHNICIAN KEVIN MACLEAN INTERVIEWED BARB CAVERS REGARDING HER DONATION OF ITEMS FROM HER HOME AND TEACHING CAREER. ON THE PUPPET, CAVERS RECALLED, “[I MADE THE PUPPET] PROBABLY ABOUT [1995] TO 2000…AT SENATOR BUCHANAN SCHOOL, AND I TAUGHT MUSIC TO GRADE TWO, THREE, AND FIVE, AND SIX, DEPENDING ON WHO WAS TEACHING THOSE GRADES, BUT I USED HIM PRIMARILY FOR GRADES TWO AND THREE…HE WAS JUST CALLED THE MAESTRO.” “ONCE I GOT INTO ADMINISTRATION IN THE SCHOOLS, RATHER THAN BEING A CLASSROOM TEACHER, I MOSTLY TAUGHT MUSIC AND ART, BECAUSE THOSE WERE SUBJECTS THAT HAD THE RIGHT NUMBER OF PERIODS. TEACHERS GOT THREE 30-MINUTE PERIODS A WEEK OF PREP TIME, SO I COULD GIVE A TEACHER THAT, WITH TEACHING MUSIC, WHICH I LOVED TO DO. IT WAS FUN. I’D BEEN TEACHING GRADE TWO AND THREE MUSIC FOR PROBABLY FOUR OR FIVE YEARS, AND, IN THE TEACHER GUIDE, THEY HAD DIRECTIONS ON HOW TO MAKE THIS…BEING A PERSON WHO LIKES TO MAKE THINGS, I THOUGHT, ‘WELL, THAT WOULD BE FUN.’ EARLIER, WHEN I WAS ACTING PRINCIPAL AT ALAN WATSON SCHOOL, [I] HAD BEEN TEACHING A GRADE SIX CLASS ART, AND WE HAD MADE SOFT SCULPTURES…AGAIN I SAID, ‘HOW HARD COULD IT BE?’ QUITE CHALLENGING ACTUALLY, BECAUSE LOTS OF THE KIDS HAD NEVER SEWED, BUT WE MADE THE WHOLE BODY PUPPET, AND THE KIDS BROUGHT THE CLOTHES AND DRESSED THEM. WE MADE THE FACES, TOO, OUT OF THE NYLON STOCKINGS, AND THE EYES, AND THEY ADDED HAIR, AND IT WAS REALLY FUN. WHEN I SAW THIS, I THOUGHT, ‘WELL, I CAN DO THAT, BECAUSE I’VE DONE THE SOFT SCULPTURE BEFORE.’ I HADN’T DONE THE KIND OF MUPPET HEAD BEFORE. HE’S KIND OF CRAZY LOOKING, BUT THE IDEA WAS THAT YOU COULD USE THIS GUY, BECAUSE HE HAS A BATON ATTACHED TO ONE HAND; THAT YOU COULD USE HIM TO GET KIDS TO BE ABLE TO BEAT OUT THE TIME; KIND OF ‘ONE-TWO-THREE’. A BIT MORE FUN TO WATCH A PUPPET THAN IT IS TO WATCH A TEACHER…[THE STUDENTS] WOULD BE ABLE TO HOLD HIM SOMETIMES, AND YOU CAN MANIPULATE HIS MOUTH BY GOING IN HIS BACK…I WANTED TO MAKE HIM, AND PARTLY BECAUSE I WANTED TO USE HIM, AND I DID USE HIM FOR ABOUT THE NEXT FIVE YEARS, IN THE CLASSROOM.” “[WE DIDN’T USE THE PUPPET] THAT MUCH. PROBABLY WITH EACH CLASS, MAYBE FIVE OR SIX TIMES, DURING THE YEAR, JUST USUALLY TO MAKE A POINT…THEN I’D MOVE ON, AND DO SOMETHING ELSE. PROBABLY THE KIDS WOULD HAVE LIKED TO SEE HIM MORE OFTEN, BUT I HAVE A SHORT ATTENTION SPAN SOMETIMES, SO I WANTED TO MOVE ON TO SOMETHING NEW.” CAVERS ELABORATED ON HER TIME TEACHING MUSIC, NOTING, “I THINK [TEACHING MUSIC IS] REALLY IMPORTANT. IT GETS A DIFFERENT PART OF YOUR BRAIN WORKING, THAN PENCIL, PAPER, SPEAKING, READING DOES. IT GIVES KIDS AN OPPORTUNITY TO MOVE, BECAUSE WE DID, PARTICULARLY WITH THE YOUNGER KIDS, WE DID LOTS OF MOVEMENT, AND ACTION SONGS…IT GAVE THEM AN OPPORTUNITY TO STRETCH, AND GET SOME OF THE ‘WIGGLES’ OUT…I THINK THE MIND AND THE SPIRIT ARE IMPORTANT. THE SPIRIT IS IMPORTANT IN MUSIC JUST TO THE JOY OF SINGING; THE JOY OF SINGING TOGETHER; MAKING MUSIC WITH INSTRUMENTS; OF PERFORMING. I ALWAYS LIKED TO HAVE CERTAIN TIMES OF THE YEAR…I REALLY LIKED CHRISTMAS CONCERTS. IT WAS REALLY A LOT OF WORK, BUT I REALLY LIKED IT, BECAUSE THE KIDS HAD A SENSE OF PERFECTING SOMETHING. WE DID LOTS OF CLASSROOM MUSIC FOR FRIDAY ASSEMBLIES…THE KIDS WOULD JUST GET UP AND SING A CLASSROOM SONG, OR SAY A POEM…WE DID LITTLE OPERETTAS…THOSE GAVE KIDS A REAL PRIDE IN WHAT THEY WERE ACCOMPLISHING—THAT THEY WORKED REALLY, REALLY HARD, AND HAD THAT SENSE OF REALLY PERFORMING WELL, WHICH I THINK IS IMPORTANT, TOO. WHEN YOU’RE PART OF A GROUP THAT’S PERFORMING, YOU CAN SHARE IN THE SUCCESS OF THAT, EVEN IF YOU’RE NOT THE BEST. SO, THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT THE ANONYMITY; ABOUT BEING PART OF A CHORAL GROUP, OR AN INSTRUMENTAL GROUP, WHERE YOU GET TO SHARE THE BENEFIT OF ALL THE APPLAUSE, AND THANKS OF THE AUDIENCE…IF YOU’RE TEACHERS, EVEN IF YOU ARE NOT THE VERY BEST, THAT WAS IMPORTANT.” “I DIDN’T [GO TO THE KIWANIS FESTIVAL WITH MY STUDENTS]. I DID WHEN I WAS A CLASSROOM TEACHER, SOME SINGING, USUALLY FOR ‘SPEECH’, AGAIN BECAUSE I THOUGHT IT WAS IMPORTANT TO PERFORM. MAYBE FOR THE FIRST TEN YEARS OF MY TEACHING, AND THEN THERE WERE MORE OPPORTUNITIES WITHIN THE SCHOOL, THAT HADN’T BEEN THERE IN THE FIRST TEN YEARS. THEY DIDN’T SEE THE BENEFIT OF REGULAR ASSEMBLIES OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT.” “I STILL HAVE A BOX LABELLED MUSIC MAKING, WHICH HAS GOT A BUNCH OF LITTLE INSTRUMENTS, LIKE A RAIN STICK, AND THE THING THAT YOU BLOW THROUGH TO MAKE THE TRAIN SOUND, AND MARACAS…IT PARTICULARLY REMINDS ME OF THE MUSIC TEACHING AT SENATOR BUCHANAN, WHICH IS WHAT I DID MORE OF THAT THAN ANY OTHER KIND OF TEACHING, AND JUST THE FUN THAT WE HAD. FOR ME, WHEN YOU ARE THE PRINCIPAL OF A SCHOOL, YOU’RE REALLY ‘ON-CALL’ ALL THE TIME, BUT, WHEN I WAS TEACHING MUSIC, I WOULD SAY, ‘OK, NOBODY BOTHERS ME. THE ONLY TIME YOU INTERRUPT ME IS IF IT’S THE SUPERINTENDENT, OR MY HUSBAND, OR IF THERE IS, LIKE SOMEBODY’S REALLY SERIOUS EMERGENCY, BUT, ANY OTHER POINT, DON’T BOTHER ME’…THAT, TO ME, WAS JUST A TIME I COULD HAVE FUN, AND ENJOY BEING WITH THE CHILDREN…I GUESS LOOKING AT HIM MAKES ME THINK OF THAT, EVEN THOUGH HE’S KIND OF UGLY.” FOR MORE INFORMATION INCLUDING LETHBRIDGE HERALD ARTICLES AND THE FULL INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTION, PLEASE SEE THE PERMANENT FILE P20190005001-GA.
Catalogue Number
P20190005003
Acquisition Date
2019-02
Collection
Museum
Images
Less detail
Other Name
STAGE PERFORMANCE BORDER
Date Range From
1918
Date Range To
1950
Material Type
Artifact
Materials
PLYWOOD, PAINT
Catalogue Number
P20110031021
  2 images  
Material Type
Artifact
Other Name
STAGE PERFORMANCE BORDER
Date Range From
1918
Date Range To
1950
Materials
PLYWOOD, PAINT
No. Pieces
5
Height
303.5
Length
114.3
Description
STAGE PERFORMANCE BORDER, IN FIVE PANEL PIECES. .001 TOP CENTRE PANEL. RECTANGULAR. VERY THIN PLYWOOD. GREEN BACKGROUND WITH PINK/RED FLOWERS. TWO FLAGS IN THE CENTRE: THE KUOMINTANG/NATIONAL LEAGUE FLAG IS ON THE LEFT (NAVY BLUE WITH A GOLDEN YELLOW SUN IN THE MIDDLE) AND THE FLAG OF THE REPUBLIC OF CHINA IS ON THE RIGHT (RED BODY, WITH A NAVY BLUE RECTANGLE IN THE TOP LEFT CORNER AND A GOLDEN YELLOW SUN IN THE MIDDLE OF THIS NAVY SECTION). BETWEEN THE FLAGS IS A NAVY BLUE, ROUGHLY OCTAGON SHAPE, WITH ANOTHER GOLDEN YELLOW SUN IN THE CENTRE. ALONG THE BOTTOM IS A REPEATING PATTERN IN RED AND YELLOW OF TWO DOTS, A LINE, AND A DOT. SCREW HOLES ALONG THE TOP AND SIDES FOR MOUNTING. ON THE FAR RIGHT SIDE OF THE PANEL IS A SMALL RECTANGULAR PIECE, ATTACHED WITH WIRE, ROUGHLY 19CM X 7.6CM. PANEL IS 241.6CM X 47.6CM POOR TO FAIR CONDITION. PANEL IS WELL WORN, THE COLOURS ARE FADED, AND THE PAINT IS CHIPPED IN SEVERAL SPOTS. .002 TOP SIDE PANEL. RECTANGULAR. VERY THIN PLYWOOD. ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE PANEL ARE THE TOPS OF TWO COLUMNS. A SMALL PINK/RED FLOWER ON A GREEN VINE IS VISIBLE ON THE COLUMN. TO THE LEFT OF THE COLUMNS IS A SECTION OF GREEN WITH PINK/RED FLOWERS. ALONG THE BOTTOM IS A REPEATING PATTERN IN RED AND YELLOW OF TWO DOTS, A LINE, AND A DOT. BELOW THE RED AND YELLOW SECTION IS A NAVY BLUE SECTION, WITH A YELLOW SECTION JUST TO THE RIGHT OF THE COLUMN. SCREW HOLES ALONG THE TOP AND SIDES FOR MOUNTING. PANEL IS 200.7CM X 56.2CM POOR TO FAIR CONDITION. PAINT SCRATCHED OFF, ESPECIALLY ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE GREEN FLOWER SECTION. NOT AS FADED OR AS WORN AS .001. TAPE REMNANTS IN THE GREEN SECTION TO THE RIGHT OF COLUMNS. .003 TOP SIDE PANEL. RECTANGULAR. VERY THIN PLYWOOD. ON THE LEFT SIDE OF THE PANEL ARE THE TOPS OF TWO COLUMNS. TO THE LEFT OF THE COLUMNS IS A SECTION OF GREEN WITH PINK/RED FLOWERS. ALONG THE BOTTOM IS A REPEATING PATTERN IN RED AND YELLOW OF TWO DOTS, A LINE, AND A DOT. BELOW THE RED AND YELLOW SECTION IS A NAVY BLUE SECTION, WITH A YELLOW SECTION JUST TO THE RIGHT OF THE COLUMN. SCREW HOLES ALONG THE TOP AND SIDES FOR MOUNTING. PANEL IS 243.2CM X 55.2CM POOR TO FAIR CONDITION. TAN PAINT ALONG THE BOTTOM, OVER THE GREEN SECTION, IN SEVERAL AREAS. THE NAVY BLUE SECTION HAS A LOT OF HAIRLINE CRACKS IN THE PAINT. .004 SIDE PANEL. RECTANGULAR. VERY THIN PLYWOOD. ON THE BOTTOM OF THE PANEL IS A RECTANGLE IN THREE SHADES OF BROWN/TAN. ALONG THE LEFT SIDE OF THE PANEL THERE ARE TWO COLUMNS, WHICH HAVE PINK/RED FLOWERS ON GREEN VINES WRAPPED AROUND THEM. NAVY BLUE CURTAIN TO THE RIGHT OF COLUMNS. THERE IS A VERTICAL RECTANGLE OVER THIS NAVY CURTAIN. THE RECTANGLE HAS A LIGHT BLUE/GREEN BACKGROUND AND HAS SEVEN CHINESE CHARACTERS IN YELLOW. THERE IS ORNAMENTATION AROUND THIS RECTANGLE. THE NAVY CURTAIN IS HELD BACK WITH A GOLDEN YELLOW TIEBACK NEAR THE TOP. ON THE FAR RIGHT SIDE IS A VERTICAL RECTANGLE WITH AN ORANGE BACKGROUND AND SEVEN CHINESE CHARACTERS IN BLACK. SCREW HOLES FOR MOUNTING AROUND EDGE OF PANEL. PANEL IS 303.5CM X 114.3CM POOR TO FAIR CONDITION. IN WORSE CONDITION THAN .005. LOTS OF LITTLE HOLES, ESPECIALLY ON THE NAVY CURTAIN. LOTS OF WALL PAINT FLECKS, ESPECIALLY ON THE COLUMNS. THE BLUE VERTICAL RECTANGLE IS MORE GREEN THAN ON .005 AND THE PAINT IS VERY, VERY WORN. .005 SIDE PANEL. RECTANGULAR. VERY THIN PLYWOOD. ON THE BOTTOM OF THE PANEL IS A RECTANGLE IN THREE SHADES OF BROWN/TAN. ALONG THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE PANEL THERE ARE TWO COLUMNS, WHICH HAVE PINK/RED FLOWERS ON GREEN VINES WRAPPED AROUND THEM. NAVY BLUE CURTAIN TO THE LEFT OF COLUMNS. THERE IS A VERTICAL RECTANGLE OVER THIS NAVY CURTAIN. THE RECTANGLE HAS A LIGHT BLUE/GREEN BACKGROUND AND HAS SEVEN CHINESE CHARACTERS IN YELLOW. THERE IS ORNAMENTATION AROUND THIS RECTANGLE. BELOW THIS BLUE RECTANGLE, ON THE NAVY CURTAIN, ARE SEVERAL CHINESE CHARACTERS ON A DIAGONAL, PAINTED ON IN RED. THE NAVY CURTAIN IS HELD BACK WITH A GOLDEN YELLOW TIEBACK NEAR THE TOP. ON THE FAR LEFT SIDE IS A VERTICAL RECTANGLE WITH AN ORANGE BACKGROUND AND SEVEN CHINESE CHARACTERS IN BLACK. SCREW HOLES FOR MOUNTING AROUND EDGE OF PANEL. PANEL IS 303.5CM X 114.3CM POOR TO FAIR CONDITION. LOTS OF CHIPPED PAINT. PANEL IS FADED/DISCOLOURED. BOTTOM BACK IS IN ESPECIALLY POOR CONDITION AND IS VERY DIRTY.
Subjects
PUBLIC ENTERTAINMENT DEVICE
Historical Association
ASSOCIATIONS
FINE ARTS
LEISURE
History
THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION ABOUT THIS ARTIFACT COMES FROM INTERVIEWS HELD WITH MAY LEE AND JUDY CHAN, RICHARD LOO, AND HONG WONG AND JANICE WONG. PERSONAL DETAILS ABOUT THE LIVES OF MAY LEE, RICHARD LOO, AND HONG WONG THEIR IMMIGRATION TO CANADA ARE FOUND BELOW THE ARTIFACT DETAILS AND BELOW THE INFORMATION ABOUT THE CHINESE NATIONAL LEAGUE SOCIETY BUILDING. MAY RECALLED THAT THERE WERE OPERAS AT THE SOCIETY BUILDING, BUT THAT THEY DIDN’T COME VERY OFTEN. SHE DIDN’T RECALL ATTENDING MANY OPERAS, BUT DID REMEMBER THAT “HONG WONG WAS SINGING THERE.” RICHARD, MEANWHILE, THOUGHT THAT THE OPERAS WERE FINISHED BEFORE HE ARRIVED IN LETHBRIDGE. HE NEVER SAW AN OPERA PRODUCTION AT THE SOCIETY BUILDING, BUT DID RECALL THAT PROJECTION FILMS WERE SHOWN. RICHARD SUGGESTED “ASK HONG. HE LIKED A LITTLE BIT OF OPERA TOO … HE SANG IN STUFF LIKE THAT.” HONG INDICATED THAT THERE WAS NO OPERAS AT THE SOCIETY BUILDING WHEN HE CAME IN 1951, BUT THAT THE SOCIETY DID STAGE PRODUCTIONS AT THE UNIVERSITY. ASKED WHERE THE COSTUMES CAME FROM, HONG SAID “WE GOT THEM FROM CALGARY AT THAT TIME, WELL, ACTUALLY WE JUST BORROWED THEM. WE DIDN’T HAVE THE MONEY TO BUY THEM.” HONG CONTINUED SAYING THAT THIS STAGE PERFORMANCE BORDER WAS USED IN CONJUNCTION WITH A LARGE MURAL (SEE P20010027000) AND A STAGE. A SERIES OF ARTICLES PUBLISHED IN THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD GIVE BACKGROUND INFORMATION ABOUT THE CHINESE NATIONAL LEAGUE SOCIETY AND ITS BUILDING: THE BUILDING THAT HOUSED THE CHINESE NATIONAL LEAGUE SOCIETY WAS BUILT IN 1909-1910 IN THE 300 BLOCK OF 2 AVENUE SOUTH AND IT WAS ORIGINALLY A RESTAURANT. BY 1915 IT HAD BECOME THE HEADQUARTERS FOR THE LETHBRIDGE BRANCH OF THE KAO MIN TANG (ALTERNATIVE SPELLINGS INCLUDE KUOMINTANG, KUO MIN TANG, GUOMINDANG, AND GUO MIN DANG). THE BUILDING WAS DESIGNATED AS A PROVINCIAL HERITAGE RESOURCE IN 1995 BECAUSE OF ITS VALUE AS A SOCIAL AND CULTURAL CENTRE FOR THE LETHBRIDGE CHINESE COMMUNITY. THE BUILDING WAS USED IN A VARIETY OF WAYS BY THE SOCIETY AND INCLUDED, AT VARIOUS TIMES, A RESTAURANT, A SCHOOL, AND LIVING ACCOMODATIONS. IN FEBRUARY 2011 A SECTION OF THE BRICK FAÇADE FELL OFF THE BUILDING AND CITY INSPECTORS DETERMINED THAT THE TIMBER AND RED BRICK STRUCTURE WAS POTENTIALLY UNSTABLE. THE BUILDING WAS TORN DOWN A SHORT TIME LATER. LETHBRIDGE'S CHINATOWN EMERGED IN 1901, A RESULT OF THE CHINESE POPULATION BEING RELEGATED TO A SECTION OF THE CITY BETWEEN GALT GARDENS AND THE COULEES. IN A JANUARY 7, 2002 ARTICLE ALBERT LEONG EXPLAINS THAT NO ONE REALLY WANTED CHINESE PEOPLE AROUND AND THAT “’ THEY WERE TOLD THAT THE ONLY PLACE THEY COULD START BUSINESSES WAS BETWEEN THE COULEES AT THE PARK, BECAUSE THE CITY DIDN’T WANT ANY COMPETITION FOR THE WHITE BUSINESSMEN … BUT ‘GHETTO-IZED’ OR NOT, THE CHINESE WHO CAME TO LETHBRIDGE FORMED AN IMPORTANT PART OF THE BACKBONE OF THIS CITY, [AND MADE] NOTEWORTHY [CONTRIBUTIONS] TO THE HISTORY OF THIS PLACE.’” BUSINESSES SUCH AS LAUNDRIES, MARKET GARDENS, AND RESTAURANTS WERE OPENED IN CHINATOWN, WITH THE RESIDENTS LIVING IN ROOMS ABOVE THE BUSINESSES. IN 1912 THERE WERE ABOUT 100 PEOPLE LIVING IN CHINATOWN AND BY THE 1930S, IT WAS A BUSTLING COMMUNITY. THE POPULATION OF CHINATOWN DWINDLED FOLLOWING THE SECOND WORLD WAR. JANICE WONG, PRESIDENT OF THE SOCIETY IN 2015, GAVE THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION ABOUT THE SOCIETY IN AN INTERVIEW: AS OF 2015, THE SOCIETY EXISTS MORE AS A SOCIAL CLUB AND THE SOCIETY HOLDS THREE CELEBRATORY DINNERS EACH YEAR, USUALLY HELD AT THE NEW DYNASTY RESTAURANT. THE SOCIETY ALSO VISITS THE CEMETERY ON A YEARLY BASIS “TO HONOUR THE ANCESTORS, CLEAN THE TOMBS, BRING FOOD, DO THE USUAL THINGS THAT WE USED TO DO – EAT ON GRAVES, BURN THE INCENSE. WE DO THAT EVERY YEAR STILL TO HONOUR OUR ANCESTORS. IT IS USUALLY IN THE SPRING … IN APRIL.” JANICE BRIEFLY DISCUSSED THE FUTURE OF THE SOCIETY, INDICATING THAT THERE IS SOME TALK ABOUT RE-BUILDING “BUT THAT INVOLVES A LOT OF PLANNING, AND MONEY, AND FUNDRAISING” AND SHE QUESTIONS WHETHER OR NOT THERE IS ENOUGH OF A MEMBERSHIP BASE TO GO FORWARD WITH RE-BUILDING. SHE ALSO EXPLAINED THAT PREVIOUS CHINESE IMMIGRANTS HAD TENDED TO COME FROM THE SAME GEOGRAPHIC REGION, BUT THAT PRESENTLY IMMIGRANTS ARE COMING FROM ALL OVER CHINA: “THERE’S A LOT OF INFLUX OF PEOPLE FROM CHINA THAT AREN’T FROM THE SAME AREA, BECAUSE TRADITIONALLY, THE PEOPLE WERE ALL FROM THE SAME AREA AND SPOKE THE SAME DIALECT AND HAD THAT SORT OF THING KEEPING THEM TOGETHER AS A COMMUNITY OVERSEAS FROM CHINA.” PERSONAL DETAILS ABOUT THE LIVES OF MAY LEE, RICHARD LOO, AND HONG WONG AND THEIR IMMIGRATION TO CANADA ARE BELOW: MAY LEE: MAY WAS ACTUALLY BORN IN CANADA AND IS KNOWN AS A GOLD MOUNTAIN GIRL, BECAUSE SHE IS A CANADIAN-BORN CHINESE WOMAN. MAY EXPLAINS: “I WAS BORN IN CANADA. I WAS BORN IN NANOOSE BAY. WHEN I WAS 4 YEARS OLD, WE MOVED TO VICTORIA. WHEN I WAS 9 YEARS OLD AND THE WHOLE FAMILY, IN 1930, GO BACK TO CHINA.” DURING THE WAR, THE JAPANESE BOMBED THE GIRLS’ HIGH SCHOOL IN TOCSIN CITY AND MAY’S MOTHER DECIDED TO SEND MAY AND HER BROTHER TO HONG KONG TO START THE PROCESS OF COMING TO CANADA. MAY STARTED ENGLISH SCHOOL IN HONG KONG, BUT OFTEN MISSED CLASSES BECAUSE SHE WAS SICK FROM THE HEAT. SHE SAYS THAT SHE’S LEARNED MOST OF HER ENGLISH FROM HER HUSBAND, HER CHILDREN, GRANDCHILDREN, AND EVEN GREAT-GRANDCHILDREN. SHE WAS MARRIED TO HOM MEN LEE, AKA JIMMY LEE, ON NOVEMBER 16, 1938 IN VICTORIA, BC. JIMMY WAS BORN IN LETHBRIDGE AT THE GALT HOSPITAL, BUT WAS SENT BACK TO CHINA AS A CHILD FOR HIS EDUCATION. JIMMY’S FAMILY HAD COME TO LETHBRIDGE IN 1914 AND OWNED LEE-DUC CLEANERS. THE LEE FAMILY LIVED ABOVE THE SHOP, WHICH WAS ON 13TH STREET NORTH, NEAR HIGA’S JEWELERS. MAY’S MAIN MEMORY OF CHINATOWN: “ALL I REMEMBER IN CHINATOWN, IN SUMMERTIME, LOTS OF OLD GUYS SITTING IN FRONT OF GUOMINDANG. AUNTIE HELEN GREW UP IN CHINATOWN. I THINK SHE KNOWS MORE ABOUT CHINATOWN. IN THE OLDEN DAYS, I HARDLY GO OUT, JUST TO BUY GROCERIES.” JUDY ADDED THAT MAY HAD 8 CHILDREN AND WAS KEPT BUSY AT HOME RAISING THEM. RICHARD LOO: RICHARD ARRIVED IN LETHBRIDGE IN 1953, HAVING LEFT THE MAINLAND OF CHINA IN 1949. RICHARD’S GRANDFATHER HAD MOVED TO CANADA IN EITHER LATE 1800S OR THE EARLY 1900S AND HAD HAD TO PAY THE HEAD TAX. HIS GRANDFATHER WORKED AS A COOK IN RESTAURANTS, EITHER IN LETHBRIDGE OR IN TABER (ACCORDING TO RICHARD, HIS GRANDFATHER WORKED THROUGH THE WAR YEARS IN TABER). RICHARD’S GRANDFATHER HAD PLANNED ON MOVING BACK TO CHINA WHEN HE RETIRED, BUT THEN THE COMMUNISTS TOOK OVER, AND HE ELECTED TO STAY. AT THAT TIME, HE INVITED RICHARD TO MOVE TO LETHBRIDGE AS WELL. RICHARD LEFT HONG KONG, AFTER LIVING THERE FOR 8 MONTHS, ON A FRIDAY AFTERNOON AT 2PM LOCAL TIME. HE FINALLY ARRIVED IN LETHBRIDGE SUNDAY AFTERNOON. HE WAS LUCKY IN THAT HE WAS ABLE TO GET HIS FLIGHTS ON SALE. NORMALLY A TICKET FROM HONG KONG TO VANCOUVER WOULD HAVE COST $700, BUT RICHARD WAS ABLE TO SECURE A FLIGHT FOR ONLY $500. HE ALSO INDICATED THAT HIS FLIGHT TO LETHBRIDGE WAS ONLY $39.95. ON RECALLING HIS FIRST TIME IN LETHBRIDGE, RICHARD RECOUNTED THE FOLLOWING STORY: “SO, BY THE TIME I GOT TO THE AIRPORT, I DIDN’T KNOW HOW TO SAY NOTHING. DIDN’T KNOW – MAYBE COULD SAY ‘GOOD MORNING’ – THAT’S ALL YOU COULD SAY, JUST ANYWAYS HOW TO SAY ‘HELLO’ – SO, ANYWAY, SO IN THE MEANTIME, THE FELLOW AT THE AIRPORT MUST HAVE KNOWN ZEKE, YOU KNOW ZEKE QUAN [OWNER OF] THE LOTUS INN [RESTAURANT], AND HE PHONED HIM UP. HE SAYS, ‘ZEKE.’ I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT HE WAS TALKING ABOUT – NOTHING. AND THEN HE SAYS, ‘HEY, THIS IS A CHINA BOY HERE. WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO WITH HIM?’ SO, ZEKE SAYS, ‘OH, JUST TAKE HIM TO CHINATOWN AND DUMP HIM.’ NOW, I DIDN’T KNOW THOSE, NOT UNTIL LATER ON. ZEKE’S SON GO TO SAME SCHOOL I DID – CENTRAL SCHOOL.” RICHARD INITIALLY LIVED IN THE SOCIETY BUILDING FOR SEVERAL YEARS, OCCUPYING A ROOM THAT HAD BEEN RECENTLY VACATED BY ANOTHER MAN NAMED LOO WHO HAD GONE TO WORK IN PICTURE BUTTE. RICHARD RECALLED THAT THE SOCIETY WAS A GOOD PLACE TO FEEL A SENSE OF COMMUNITY AND THAT IT WAS A WELCOMING PLACE FOR NEW CHINESE IMMIGRANTS, A PLACE WHERE THEY WEREN’T DISCRIMINATED AGAINST. HONG WONG: HONG ARRIVED IN LETHBRIDGE IN 1951 AND WAS INVITED TO THE CITY BY HIS UNCLE SHUEY WONG, WHO WAS ALREADY LIVING HERE. UNCLE SHUEY HAD COME TO CANADA SEVERAL YEARS BEFORE AND HAD HAD TO PAY THE $500 HEAD TAX. HONG TRAVELED WITH HIS BROTHER FROM MAINLAND CHINA TO HONG KONG, IN ORDER TO GO TO THE CANADIAN EMBASSY. ON HIS FERRY RIDE TO HONG KONG, HE WAS SHOT BY BANDITS AND WAS REQUIRED TO STAY IN THE HOSPITAL FOR QUITE SOME TIME TO RECOVER. HIS BROTHER ELECTED TO REMAIN IN HONG KONG, AS HIS MOTHER-IN-LAW LIVED IN THE CITY AND GOT HONG’S BROTHER WORK IN A THEATRE. TO GET TO CANADA, HONG FLEW FROM JAPAN TO GUAM, TO VANCOUVER, AND THEN FINALLY TO LETHBRIDGE. HIS FIRST IMPRESSION OF LETHBRIDGE: COLD. HONG SAID: “’WELL, IN HONG KONG IT WAS AROUND MAYBE 20 SOME 30 ABOVE. AND HERE, AT THAT TIME, MAYBE 20 BELOW, OR 20 SOME BELOW. I DIDN’T HAVE THE EAR MUFFS. I SAID, ‘GEE, I’M NOT SO HAPPY HERE, IT SEEMS SO COLD.’” UNCLE SHUEY TOLD HONG THAT IT WAS ONE OF THE COLDEST WINTERS HE COULD REMEMBER. HONG WORKED FOR HIS UNCLE IN HIS SHOP ON 9TH AVENUE, DOING CHORES AROUND THE STORE, UNTIL HIS ENGLISH HAD IMPROVED ENOUGH SO THAT HE COULD SERVE CUSTOMERS. HE JOINED THE CHINESE NATIONALIST LEAGUE SOCIETY ALMOST AS SOON AS HE ARRIVED: “WHEN I CAME HERE, I JOINED IN THE SAME YEAR BECAUSE MY UNCLE WAS A MEMBER. SO THAT’S WHY HE GOT ME IN TO BE A MEMBER. OH, AT THAT TIME, I BET, 95% OF THE CHINESE PEOPLE THEY BELONG TO THE CHINESE NATIONAL LEAGUE, I BELIEVE.” HE CONTINUED, SAYING THAT YOU COULDN’T BE A MEMBER OF BOTH THE SOCIETY AND THE MASONS, AND HE BELIEVES ABOUT 5% OF THE CITY’S CHINESE POPULATION WOULD HAVE BELONGED TO THE MASONS. HE ADDED: “BUT WE ARE STILL FRIENDS, STILL FRIENDS. WE’RE NOT ENEMY OR ANYTHING BUT, IT’S JUST THAT THE ORGANIZATIONS ARE DIFFERENT. THAT’S ALL.” HONG ENJOYED THE CAMARADERIE OF THE SOCIETY. HE SAID: “I REMEMBER, I LIKE IT BECAUSE THEY HAVE THE PARTY AND SO MANY PEOPLE. AND THEN YOU MEET ALL THE CHINESE PEOPLE THERE IN THE ONE GROUP. WELL, ANYWAY, WHEN YOU SEE SO MANY PEOPLE IN ONE PARTY, AND THEN WHEN THEY COME OUT MOSTLY THE PEOPLE THAT PARTY AND IT FEELS LIKE A LOTS OF FRIENDS OR EVEN LIKE THE FAMILY. SO YOU FEEL GOOD, YOU FEEL BETTER, AND THEN, WELL, MY UNCLE BELONGS THERE TOO AND THEN THE OTHERS BELONG THERE TOO, YEAH, EVERYBODY LIKE IN THE BIG FAMILY. YES, NICE, OTHERWISE YOU DON’T HAVE ANY FRIENDS, YOU DON’T MEET ANYBODY, IF YOU NOT BELONG THERE, I THINK NOT SO FRIENDLY TO YOU.” HONG INDICATED THAT WHEN A SPECIAL MEAL WAS HELD AT THE SOCIETY, IT WAS THE MEN WHO DID THE COOKING: “AT THAT TIME JUST ABOUT EVERYBODY KNOWS HOW TO COOK BECAUSE MOSTLY WE WORK IN THE KITCHEN WHEN THEY CAME HERE.” HE SAID THAT DINERS WOULD PAY A SMALL FEE TO EAT AT THE LEAGUE WHEN SPECIAL MEALS WERE PUT ON. SEE PERMANENT FILE FOR COPIES OF LETHBRIDGE HERALD ARTICLES AND FOR INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTS.
Catalogue Number
P20110031021
Acquisition Date
2011-11
Collection
Museum
Images
Less detail