Item AAAB3478 - Mary Lee Chan and Shirley Chan interview

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Title proper

Mary Lee Chan and Shirley Chan interview

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  • sound recording

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  • Source of title proper: Supplied title based on item contents.

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  • 1977-12-23 [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: T3170:0001 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Strathcona neighbourhood : the Chinese community RECORDED: [location unknown], 1977-12-23 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Mrs. Chan discusses: her family background; life of her grandfather; 1907 Vancouver Chinatown riots as experienced by her mother; grandfather's desire to be part of the gold rush; life of her father, various jobs he held including wood cutter, gardener, farm work; being born on Slocan Street; memories of Chinatown in the 1920s; role of women in Chinese society. Mrs. Chan then discusses her family's return to China in 1922-23 because they were so poor: family's dissatisfaction with return to China and difficulties adjusting to it; Mrs. Chan went to a co-ed school in China, rare at the time; medical services in China were limited, but all of Mrs. Chan's siblings were straightforward deliveries. TRACK 2: More about Mrs. Chan's memories in China: burglar anecdote; becoming a teacher for a government school; marriage. In 1947, Mrs. Chan returns to Canada due to help from money sent over by her sisters. Discusses: changes in Vancouver Chinatown; arrival of her husband to Canada in 1949 (daughter Shirley is 1 year old at this point); being a Chinese teacher in New Westminster; family store; growth of Chinese community; other neighbours in Strathcona area. Mrs. Chan starts to discuss her interest in stopping the urban renewal campaign of City Hall. Shirley not involved until she was a university student. More discussion about the campaign to stop the city from demolishing Strathcona community.; CALL NUMBER: T3170:0002 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Strathcona neighbourhood : the Chinese community RECORDED: [location unknown], 1977-12-23 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: More discussion about SPOTA and the campaign to stop urban renewal. Role of Mary's husband in SPOTA: failing health, but still chaired first meeting. Mrs. Chan is only founding member of SPOTA still on board. Mrs. Chan's plans to build Cultural Centre, another united Chinese community effort. Discusses how SPOTA achieved success. (End of interview);

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Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

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


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Some of the discussion is in Cantonese, and these sections were not transcribed.

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A digital copy is available.
Partial transcript on file [English sections of interview].
Digitized as part of the Chinese Historical Wrongs Legacy Initiative.

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No access restrictions apply.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

  • 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

Tod Greenaway was apparently also present, and is heard on the tape near the end of the interview.

General note

Accession number(s): T3170

Credits note

speaker: Mary Lee Chan, speaker: Shirley Chan, interviewer: Daphne Shirley (Buckle) Marlatt, interviewer: Carole Itter

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