Asian Heritage Month
May 2012 marks the tenth anniversary of Asian Heritage month in Canada. Senator Vivienne Poy called for the designation as a way to honour the contributions of Canadians of Asian descent, both past and present.
2012 also marks the 65th anniversary of the repeal of The Chinese Immigration Act. Until its repeal in 1947, immigration laws were restrictive and prevented Asian Canadians from not only immigrating, but also voting and holding public office. After 1947, it became easier for Asians to immigrate to Canada to establish better lives. Chinese immigrants were given the right to vote and were able to work as accountants, lawyers, and pharmacists. In 1954, Margaret Jean Gee was the first woman of Chinese descent who was called to the bar in British Columbia.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada has a put together a number of resources in honour of Asian Heritage Month. You can view an online exhibit of influential Asians who immigrated to Canada (or whose parents came to Canada from Asian countries). The exhibit showcases violinist Juliette Kang (whose parents arrived from Korea) and Japanese architect Raymond Moriyama. The exhibit shows the contributions that Asian Canadians have made to Canada as musicians, actors, filmmakers, designers, and businesspeople. The exhibit is available online and will also be traveling throughout Canada in the month of May. On Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s website, students and teachers will also find an online quiz, photo galleries, timelines, and other education resources for the classroom.
— Text by Norah Myers