Item AAAB3055 - Harry Con interview

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Harry Con interview

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  • sound recording

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  • 1977-09-24 [date recorded] (Creation)

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Custodial history

Interviews with residents of Vancouver Strathcona Neighbourhood, recorded as research for the book "Opening Doors: Vancouver's East End," vol. 8 nos. 1 & 2 of Sound Heritage (Provincial Archives, 1979).

Scope and content

CALL NUMBER: T2799:0001 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Strathcona neighbourhood : the Chinese community PERIOD COVERED: 1922-1977 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1977-09-24 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Harry Con discusses background: born 1922 in Canada; went to China as a boy; returned to Vancouver in 1934 and went to Strathcona School where he learned English; mother was Canadian-born; father immigrated at age 15, worked on railroad, then in sawmills; father Chinese foreman at Capilano Timber (Hastings Park area); conditions of work for father. Con served in WW II; after discharge in 1945, he worked for "Chinese Times", then as principal of Chinese Community School (run by Chinese Freemasons); father a Freemason, as is Harry; relates functions of organization pre and post WW II. Discusses: sending bones back to China; Chinese emigration; discrimination; integration; history of Freemasons as a political organization supporting Sun Yat-sen. Begins narration of urban renewal crisis in Strathcona during '60s; formation of Chinese Property Owners Association under wing of Chinese Benevolent Association (CBA). TRACK 2: Urban renewal crisis (cont'd). Phase I and II of urban renewal. Organization meeting for SPOTA in late '68 where he was elected co-chairman. Discusses his candidacy for School Board in 1968, and political tactics of Chinese Community and of SPOTA. SPOTA's legitimacy as spokesman for Chinese community, 4th level of government on Strathcona Rehabilitation Committee (SRC). Other workers in SPOTA and his resignation. Issue of narrowing roads led to his resignation. Sien Lok Conference in Calgary, Robert Andras & brother Ron Con. Ron's work in Toronto. Freeway and Columbia Connector debates: part played by CBA and by SPOTA and CCC (Chinese Cultural Centre); Reasons for SPOTA's success.

CALL NUMBER: T2799:0002 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Strathcona neighbourhood : the Chinese community PERIOD COVERED: 1920-1965 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1977-09-24 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Harry Con discusses: his return to Canada in 1934 and practice of detaining immigrants in Immigration Building; living conditions in 1920s for Chinese in Chinatown; father's work as labour contractor at Capilano Timber; Chinese Empire Reform Association vs. Dr. Sun; split between Freemasons and Nationalists after Republic established; Freemasons no longer a political organization. Wong Foon Sien: head of CBA and head of Hoysun Ningyung Districts Association; spokesman for Chinatown. Discusses: the threat to close Chinese school in 1930s; learning to speak English; retaining Chinese culture; strong family system of traditional culture. TRACK 2: Discusses World War II: joining up to press for full citizenship rights; service in Southeast Asia in Secret Service (British). 1963-64 revitalization of Chinatown: protest over Quebec connector; money of new Hong Kong immigrants; Chinese Cultural Centre; Chinatown Historical Planning Committee. (End of interview);

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Daphne Marlatt and Carole Itter, [1977-05 to 1978-09]


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A digital copy is available.
Reference cassette copy available in container 000443-165.
Digitized as part of the Chinese Historical Wrongs Legacy Initiative.

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No access restrictions apply.

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  • Copying Restriction: Undetermined.
  • Use Restriction: For private and educational use only. Not for broadcast or commercial use without permission of the B.C. Archives.
  • Copyright Status: Copyright British Columbia Archives.

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General note

Accession number(s): T2799

Credits note

speaker: Harry Con, interviewer: Daphne Shirley (Buckle) Marlatt, interviewer: Carole Itter

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