History of New Westminster towards Chinese

1858-1864

Gold rush led to migration of Chinese miners and a boom in NW. Chinese contributed to local economy through operating laundries, vegetable farms, preparing firewood, building telegraph lines, etc.

1866

Chinatown grew on Front Street. Chinese provided cheap labor for salmon cannery.

1881-1885

Due to inadequate funding and shortage of labourers for the CPR, 15,000 Chinese though not wanted were needed to build the CPR. In 1882, a near riot occurred when 900 Chinese unloaded off a ship were kept on the NW dock penned up :like cattle; overnight.  NW rose in prosperity from large movements of people and goods. Towards the end of CPR construction, racism and Chinese unemployment increased

1885-1923

Head tax was imposed only on Chinese immigrants to discourage their coming.

1887-1907

Anti Chinese riots in Vancouver. Anti Asian League formed in 1907 in NW led by owner of local paper and building inspector, inciting hostility against Chinese community.

1888-1898

Economic boom due to large migration of non-Chinese after completion of CPR.

1892

Chinese succeeded in having a Chinese cemetery at the south end of the current NW Secondary School site.

1898

Great Fire of NW burned down 60 blocks including Chinatown. Chinese merchants were not allowed to rebuild on Front Street since it was considered too close to Downtown. They then rebuilt around the "swamp", an area to the west and uphill from Columbia. NW exempted municipal tax from a can factory for paying all workers white men's wages and employing Chinese only if white labor was not available.

1904                  

Chinese Benevolent Association of NW built a home for seniors at 825 Victoria (later became CBA's Building)

1907

In a sermon within NW St Andrew・s Presbyterian Church, Rev. J.S. Henderson said :Look upwards for guidance, manfully keep up the fight, and let the motto .White Canada・ reign sublime in your hearts.;

1909-1914          

With the earlier cemetery full, the Chinese community leased a 2 acre parcel for cemetery (located east of   NWSS) but lease was cancelled without reason in 1914.

1912

Premier Richard McBride (from NW) said :British Columbia must be kept whiteK.we have the right to say that our own kind and color shall enjoy the fruits of our labour.; At the city level, NW forced demolition of part of Chinatown to suit its plan to redevelop the area as industrial area

1913

With a depressed economy, NW City council initiated the policy of not hiring Chinese labourers, and of not purchasing things from companies who did.

1914-1916

World War 1 brought recession, sharp rise in rice price and 80% unemployment among Chinese in Vancouver. Many Chinese returned to China. NW building inspector condemned core buildings in NW Chinatown and council sought an orderly schedule for their demolition. Referring to the Chinese and Japanese population in Asia, NW Daily News commented :the two races show a total of 450 millions. In light of these facts can the whites on the Pacific coast neglect the smallest opportunity to erect barriers against the inrush of the yellow hordesK.?;

1919

Provincial Fire Marshall J.A. Thomas declared the Chinatown district as "a fire trap in the heart of the City" and ordered the demolition of a large part of Chinatown bounded by Columbia, McNeely, Carnarvon and Blackie streets.

1920

NW City building inspector issued further demolition for another 14 buildings, most in the core of Chinatown.

1923

NW MP W G McQuarrie introduced the notorious Chinese Exclusion Act in the Parliament resulting in a "bachelor society" in Chinese communities across Canada

1941

Chinese population dropped to 400 in NW

1948

New Westminster Secondary School was built on top of existing including Chinese cemeteries. School District report revealed coffin dug up in the process.

1979

CBA donated its historic building to NW which demolished it within months. The large lot laid in waste for decades until it was turned into a dog park in 2008.

 

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