Hon. Lillian Eva Dyck: Honourable senators, on May 3 our Asian senators hosted a celebration of the fifteenth anniversary of Asian Heritage Month by joining together for an evening of Asian culture and food. Former Senator Vivienne Poy was honoured for her motion declaring May as Asian Heritage Month, which was adopted on December 6, 2001. The Senate continues to celebrate this event every year.
Honourable senators, a vital part of the Chinese Canadian heritage is the gold rush in British Columbia in the 1800s. Hundreds of Chinese men from the Guangdong area of China, along with thousands of others, prospected and panned for gold in the interior of B.C. They risked everything in the hopes, the gamble, of finding their fortunes in Gold Mountain, the nickname for what is now part of B.C.
As stated on the Chinese Canadian Stories website:
"Gold Mountain" names a dream of a better life, and the dream was followed in faraway places. The name "Gold Mountain" referred at first to the Chinese who chased the "Gold Rushes" of the 19th century on the west coast of North America and in Australia. Their dreams of a better life became a symbol for all subsequent journeys to these places. The "guests" of Gold Mountain who returned from overseas carried with them gifts and stories from far away, inspiring younger generations to follow in their paths. For a century, dreams of Gold Mountain led hundreds of thousands of young men and women on journeys of hope. Some realized their dreams; others ended long lives bitter and broken. Many found new hope in new places, changing their original dreams for new
ones. For so many, the children for whom they dreamed carried the legacy of their hopes and desires, a golden inheritance that carries through the generations.
Honourable senators, like the early Chinese who came to Canada in search of Gold Mountain, my father, Quan Leen Yok, came to Canada in 1912 to seek a better fortune and eventually became a Chinese café operator on the Canadian Prairies.
Honourable senators, congratulations are due to the Royal B.C. Museum for developing their travelling gold rush exhibit, entitled Gold Rush! — El Dorado in British Columbia. This exhibit is now on display at the Canadian Museum of History until January