The “Ugly Ducklings.” Stories of Transformation among Chinese Canadians

Chinese Christian Mission of Canada (CCM).
January, 2011 - March, 2012
Vancouver, BC
Project Details

The CCM will collect information and stories of Chinese Canadians affected by the Head Tax and Exclusion Act. It will use archival materials and oral histories to document the historical role of Christian churches in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in their outreach to Chinese immigrants who were viewed as undesirable. Discriminated against and segregated from mainstream society, early Chinese immigrants were confined in ethnic ghettos. Missionaries helped Chinese immigrants in mission stations set up in Chinatowns. For example, many Chinese immigrants used the services to receive an education and move beyond their social confinement towards integration into Canadian society. This project involves both archival research and oral history interviews. Archival research will include historic Chinese church and family records, denominational publications and records, as well as university and public archives. The project will also dig into stories of pioneer Chinese Christian professionals as told by their descendents. The results of the research will be digitized for inclusion in the University of British Columbia's (UBC) online portal which will house materials developed by organizations receiving CHRP funding. The information will be transformed into a "portable photo exhibit" for the general public, including non-English speaking Chinese immigrants.