Nicholas M.

Vancouver, British Columbia

Vancouver Heritage Fair

Looking back at Canadian Immigration

My project is all about the Chinese and Ukrainians immigrating to Canada during the late 1800s through the mid-1900s. When the two cultures find themselves poverty stricken and attacked in their home countries, they decided to immigrate to Canada to live a better life.



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

I think the most interesting thing was that Sir John A. Macdonald disliked the Chinese so he taxed them, then excluded them. White people also discriminated against the Chinese. Another interesting fact is that the Chinese were willing to pay the head tax and live with discrimination to stay in Canada.

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

Once the Chinese Exclusion Act was lifted in 1947, Canada finally accepted the Chinese. The lesson I learned and want to share is to accept people and build a multicultural community. Stephen Harper apologized to the Chinese people and refunded the money to the people who paid the head tax and were still living. The lesson I learned was that you can’t just say sorry, you also have to refund the head tax money to show that you really mean it.

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

In the early 1900s, a 10-year child in China would be helping on the farm and would live with hardships. When they immigrated to Canada, the immigrant would face new hardships and experienced discrimination. Now in the present, I am treated with respect and are given citizenship, rights and freedoms without discrimination.