Gold Mountain

“Gold Mountain” is not a single place. It is not the name for Canada, or the United States, or Australia, although the name “Gold Mountain” has been used for each of these places. The Chinese who came to Canada knew the difference between Canada and the United States, between Vancouver and Victoria and San Francisco. They had names for each of these places. But when they said, “I am going to Gold Mountain” or “He is returning from Gold Mountain,” the term captured the meaning of a place to them. “Gold Mountain” names a dream of a better life, and the dream was followed in faraway places. The name “Gold Mountain” referred at first to the Chinese who chased the “Gold Rushes” of the 19th century on the west coast of North America and in Australia. Their dreams of a better life became a symbol for all subsequent journeys to these places. The “guests” of Gold Mountain who returned from overseas carried with them gifts and stories from far away, inspiring younger generations to follow in their paths. For over a century, dreams of the Gold Mountain led hundreds of thousands of young men and women on journeys of hope. Some realized their dreams; others ended long lives bitter and broken. Many found new hope in new places, changing their original dreams for new ones. For so many, the children for whom they dreamed carried the legacy of their hopes and desires, a golden inheritance that carries through the generations.

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