Kelowna cemetery first provincial site of Chinese-Canadian monuments

A commemorative monument to honour the contributions of Chinese-Canadians to BC’s history, culture and economic prosperity has been unveiled in Kelowna.

It’s the first of 15 monuments being installed across the province to reflect the 2014 apology to Chinese-Canadians for historical wrongs committed by past provincial governments.

“In 2014, when premier Christy Clark apologized to all the Chinese workers, I was so emotional I was crying that day, said Shui Lee of the Chinese Freemasons Club. “So the monument here means so much, not only for me, for everybody.”

Chinese-Canadian pioneers faced racism and other hardships while building the Canadian Pacific Railway.

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“BC has moved on to become a multi-cultural community and everybody enjoys equal rights but we have to learn about history,” said Teresa Wat, the provincial minister responsible for multi-culturalism. “That’s why this is important, to let everyone know about that dark chapter in the history of British Columbia.”

The inscribed granite stone was installed at the pioneer section of the Memorial Park Cemetery because it’s where some of the Chinese immigrants who helped build the Kettle Valley Railway are buried.

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