TIME TRAVELLER: This North Van grocer arrived in Canada right before racist 'head tax'

May is Asian Heritage Month in Canada.

This photo from 1910 shows Lim Gong outside his grocery store at 157 West 2nd St. in North Vancouver.

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Lim Gong arrived in Canada in 1884, one year before the federal government passed the Chinese Immigration Act, which made every person of Chinese origin immigrating to Canada pay a hefty “head tax.”

No other group in Canadian history has ever been forced to pay a tax based solely on their country of origin.

Lim Gong moved to North Vancouver in 1900 and established his own grocery store, which thrived for many years.

Despite becoming an important part of the community, like other Chinese immigrants, Lim Gong faced outright discrimination.

In 1923, the Canadian government passed a new Chinese Immigration Act, also known as the Chinese Exclusion Act.

The new act, which remained in place until 1947, completely banned Chinese immigration to Canada.

Lim Gong died in 1951 at the age of 85, only four years after finally receiving the right to vote in Canada.

The Time Traveller feature offers a weekly glimpse into the North Shore’s past, courtesy of North Vancouver Museum and Archives.

 

For more information about the history of the North Shore and to learn about the new Museum of North Vancouver opening in late-2020, visit nvma.ca and sign up for our e-newsletter at bit.ly/35MWr83. Currently, the Archives of North Vancouver at 3203 Institute Rd. in Lynn Valley is open by appointment only, contact: archives@dnv.org

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