Case 15, Item 9

When the C.P.R. steamer the Empress of Japan was decommissioned in 1926, she was scrapped in Burrard Inlet. Pieces were thrown overboard and many were then collected by locals. The best known piece is her figurehead, which for a time was displayed in Stanley Park (it was replaced by the current fibreglass copy in 1960) and is now on display at the Vancouver Maritime Museum. The Chung Collection has a newel post from the Empress of Japan, on display in the Chung Collection exhibition room.

Case 6, Item 4

In 1871, Minister of Public Works of Canada Hector Langevin was sent by the Federal Cabinet to visit British Columbia with the mission to acquire knowledge of the new province and propose a site for the terminus for the Candian Pacific Railway. Langevin’s journey took him from central Canada to Chicago, then by the American Pacific Railway to San Francisco, where he embarked on the steamer Prince Alfred travelling to Victoria on Vancouver Island, and then to the mainland. Langevin’s diary documents how he came to recommend Vancouver as the site for the terminus, which had an enormous effect on the development of the city. This is an important document to the history of British Columbia and to the Canadian Pacific Railway company, and it was almost lost to the Canadian public. It was won it at auction by a Vancouver man, but he almost lost it to an American collector who wanted it for Langevin’s description of Mormon communities in Utah.

Case 8, Item 5

The Yip family history is an inspirational “rags to riches” story, in which the patriarch of the family, Yip Sang, evolves from a door-to-door coal peddler to the most successful Chinese business person of his time in Vancouver, and the “unofficial mayor” of Chinatown. This family photograph collage was prepared in celebration of Yip Sang’s eightieth birthday in 1925, prepared by well-known Chinese-Canadian photographer Cecil B. Wand. The photographs are arranged in the shape of the traditional Chinese character meaning “longevity,” with Yip Sang at the top.

Case 18, Item 10

This 1903 log book of the Canadian Pacific Navigation Company is open on display to May 15, 1903, which was the first day that the ships of the Canadian Pacific Navigation Company sailed under the C.P.R. flag. It is noted by a small sketch of the C.P.R. flag, an example of which is displayed next to the log book.

Case 12, Item 10

This carrying basket was used by an early Chinese immigrant, Chow Kwong Ho, who used it to carry his belongings to Canada on a C.P.R. steamer from Hong Kong circa 1920. It is on display in contrast to a chest carried by a European settler who came across the Atlantic on the Empress of Ireland.

Case 4.1, Item 1
Head tax certificates were required by Chinese-Canadians to prove they had paid the government-enforced head tax, or in some cases to prove they had been exempt from the tax. The Canadian government has since apologized for the racist policy, but head tax certificates remain a powerful symbol of the struggles of early Chinese-Canadians. This certificate, for Lee Chew Bin, is one of five certificates held in the Chung Collection.

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