◊ Who was Ioannis Apostolos Focas-Valerianos and what’s his connection to Vancouver Island?
◊ How did Hawaii become the largest market for Fraser River sockeye salmon between 1830-1858?
◊ Why did American Black immigrants chose to live in Victoria in the late 1850’s?
◊ Other early ethnic immigrants include Jewish, Chinese, and Japanese.
◊ Many of the stories of these fascinating individuals and their communities have been rediscovered from the depths of local archives.
“I am a Chinese Canadian artist in Richmond and love to hear stories and get inspirations toward my paintings and calligraphy.” Celia Leung
“City in Colour is a lively, very readable and welcome celebration of Victoria’s multicultural heritage…It is full of thoroughly researched little vignettes about people who have been largely lost to living memory, but should not be forgotten.”
Tom Koppel 2019 →Ormsby Review
“What a delivery style! Thank you very much for your dramatic presentation!” Catherine Siba (Courtenay and District Museum)
“A lively and professional presentation.” W. Critchley
“Great! Very entertaining!” Mary A.
◊ What is harder to find – a family to belong to or a country to call home? Which is easier to forgive – a spouse who hurts you or a nation that rejects you?
◊ Wong Guey Dang (1902-1983), born in Guangdong, China, was sold as a child by his destitute parents. His adoptive father paid a $500 head tax in 1921 to allow him entry into Canada.
◊ He returned to China in 1929, for his arranged wedding to Jiang Tew Thloo (1911-2002). Married for over half a century, the couple was forced to live apart for the next twenty-five years due to Canada’s exclusionary immigration laws.
◊ In China, Ah Thloo struggled to survive natural disasters, wars and revolution; while in Canada, Ah Dang overcame discrimination to become a successful Montreal restaurateur.
◊ This is the story of my parents and our family.
“Just finished reading “A Cowherd in Paradise” and enjoyed every page of it. What a refreshing change to read about the events of a place and time that is so removed from our lifestyles; yet it grasped my immediate interest and kept it throughout the book. Many emotions were stirred while reading the story as I found myself bonding with each character. A really good read and a warm and honest depiction of how life was in Guangdong province at that time and the difficulties of starting a new life in a new world and a strange culture. The persons of Ah Dang and Ah Thloo will remain with me. Well done.” G. Moore (Vancouver)
Learn about the China Garden Cafe, my father’s restaurant, and other Montreal landmarks, in Day’s Lee’s documentary, Meet and Eat at Lee’s Garden, on CBC Gem. The film is a 2022 nominee for a Canadian Screen Award for Best History Documentary! Learn more about Day’s work here → https://dayslee.ca/.
Information about the projects listed below will be covered in future
Creation Insights – My Blog articles.
The photos below show some of my actual creations.