Jonathan L.

Whitby, Ontario

Durham Regional Fair

Chinese Immigration & How it Shaped Canada's History

My project is about the various challenges and obstacles that the Chinese faced when entering Canada such as: The Head Tax, The Chinese Exclusion Act, and The Anti-Asian Riot of 1907. Some of the historical events and acts have impacted my family and many other Chinese Canadian families across our nation.


What was the most interesting thing you learned about your topic?

I found it interesting that in 1947, the Chinese were finally allowed to vote. Some Chinese men fought in the Second World War as Canadian citizens, but were not allowed to vote until 1947. The Canadian government felt that because the Chinese fought as citizens, it was wrong to ban their votes as citizens.

What important lessons have you learned that you want to share with other Canadians?

The Head Tax, Chinese Exclusion Act and racism suffered by Chinese Immigrants is not common knowledge to many Canadians. These issues caused a lot of suffering and hardship for the Chinese, and that the Government apologized in 2006 for their role in the past. The Chinese have contributed a great deal to shaping our land especially through the railroad and the multicultural diversity of Canada.

How would you compare your life today to the lives of those studied in your project?

I have faced some racism like my great-grandfather did. As a Chinese person, he faced huge challenges to earn his place in Canada. A large difference between my great-grandfather and I, is that I do not have to collect dirty laundry on a steel cart before and after going to school to help my family earn a living. Unlike some Chinese children of the early 1900s, I am able to go to school and get a proper education. All the doors are open for me to achieve a successful future, unlike my great-grandfather and many of the earlier Chinese Immigrants.