Yi Fao: Speaking Through Memory: A History of New Westminister's Chinese Community 1858-1980

Yi Fao: Speaking Through Memory: A History of New Westminister's Chinese Community 1858-1980

by Patricia Owen, Jim Wolf


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Bravo to the New Westminster Museum and Archives for their groundbreaking research into the history of Yi Fao, and for their understanding that these records of the past will remain as a living contribution to enrich and strengthen our collective heritage. —Wayson Choy

This is the fascinating history of Yi Fao—the Chinese name for New Westminster, BC—told through photographs and personal recollections. Yi Fao means "second port," a reference to the city's place as the second point of entry to the province after Victoria.

The book offers an historical overview of Yi Fao that places in a broader context the stories of four key families of settlers: Law, Lee, Quan and Shiu. In each family's story, siblings, grandchildren, grandparents and in-laws recount their memories. Their reminiscences offer a history not just of facts and dates, but of experiences and emotions. Compelling and poignant, this intimate glimpse into daily life and the city's old Chinatown reveals a story of struggle, adventure and achievement.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781894974400
Publisher: Heritage House Publishing Company, Limited
Publication date: 08/05/2008
Pages: 144
Product dimensions: 8.25(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.25(d)

About the Author

Patricia Owen completed a master’s degree in the arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas at the University of East Anglia, United Kingdom, in 2005. She took a lead role in the New Westminster Museum and Archives’ project to research the city’s Chinese-Canadian community. In 2008 she began working on contract with the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia.

Jim Wolf, a long-time resident of New Westminster, BC, is well known in the province’s heritage community as a heritage planner and a historian. He has been committed to preserving New Westminster’s heritage for the past 20 years: at the New Westminster Museum and Archives; as president of the Heritage Preservation Society and former member of the city’s Community Heritage Commission; and as a founding director of the New Westminster Heritage Foundation. Jim is currently the heritage planner for the City of Burnaby and an active heritage consultant. He lives with his wife and son in New Westminster’s Queen’s Park neighbourhood, where they are restoring the 1907 Herbert and Ellen Harrison house.

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