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The Beginning Of Immigration:
History, Struggle and Success - Continued


With the best of the gold rush days over many Chinese retuned home, but for some Chinese, they decided to remain in Canada and went on to help build the Canadian Pacific Railway. Despite working under exhausting and dangerous conditions, the Chinese were also subject to attack from labor unions which believed the Chinese were stealing jobs from white workingmen. Despite and exclusion from mass Canadian culture, the Chinese fought on and slowly built up a presence not only on the West coast, but in other large cities such as Toronto.

Toronto city skyline. Many Chinese immigrants had settled here before the outbreak of WWI. Circa 1916-20. Courtesy Toronto City Archives.

With World War I, Chinese immigration would slow to a crawl and with the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1924, it was very clear that Canada did not want anymore Chinese in the nation. Despite a growing interest in Chinese culture and cuisine during the 20's and 30's, white society looked down upon actual Chinese living in Canada, which was something of a pardox in itself. Nevertheless, for the next two decades, the Chinese already living in Canada would press on and firmly establish themselves in the nation, through business and of course restaurants and Chinese food.

After two bloody World Wars, Canada and much of the Western world sought at all costs to destroy their protectionist and isolationist policies which had brought upon Hitler and the rise of Nazism in Germany. In a reversal of international politics, Canada once again opened up the nation with the repeal of the Chinese Exclusion act in 1947 to bring upon a new generation of Chinese immigration into Canada.

-Matt Eng. 2008.

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After the repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act, many young Chinese came to Canada searching for new prospects and a better life. Circa 1950.

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