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[Animated Cup of Coffee - Medium] Chinese Cafes in Canada
On the internet, cyber-cafes are places where people go to chat online and java is the potential reference for a computer script. But did you know the presence of Chinese cafes on the prairies and the west coast holds a real and unique place in North American culture and history?

[Animated Mug of Java]

As an economic institution and social phenomenon, Chinese cafes have been around as long as 1858 when the first Chinese pioneers settled in Canada and tent cafes sprang up. In the last decade, their legacy has given rise to an anthology of works and exhibitions.

Join us, soon, as we share the experience in virtual reality.


A couple of original sources worth watching ...


[Animated Cup of Coffee - Small] Chinese Cafes in Rural Saskatchewan
A documentary short of 28 minutes, City Productions, 1985
Producer & Director, Tony Chan


Welcome to Outlook and Humboldt, Saskatchewan, and meet the marvelous people behind the luncheon counter.

Chinese Cafes in Rural Saskatchewan unlocks the swinging doors of the Chinese cafes in small town North America and country Saskatchewan. It's a story about Chinese immigrants from Hong Kong and Asia living in rural Canada. It looks at the people behind their businesses and the cafes in their communities.

Chinese Cafes are uniquely prairie, small town, and North American from the time when the first Chinese pioneers settled in the northwest of Canada and tent cafes sprang up.

In Chinese Cafes, you meet Wayne Mah of Eston, the first Canadian mayor of Chinese heritage on the prairies. The "Noisy" Jim Kook and Fong Chow families of outlook entertain you with their own brand of humour, community spirit and unique approach to life.

In Humboldt, Saskatchewan, Glenn and Pearl Tang reveal the simple business life of a Chinese family on the prairies.

[Animated Teapot - Small]


[Animated Cup of Coffee - Small] The Panama: A Television Documentary
A documentary short of 29 minutes, Sun Riders Productions, 1996
Producer & Director, Tony Chan


The Panama chronicles the Chan family of Victoria, British Columbia as it evolved from its first days in Canada when the patriarch Chan Dun, at the age of twelve, landed in Victoria in 1890. From that auspicious occasion, a family of eight sons and four daughters would eventually center around the Panama Cafe; a western style eatery specializing in liver and onions and apple pie and catering to the working class of the city.

Located on Government Street by 1930, The Panama is a story of one of the oldest Chinese Canadian families. It describes experiences during the depression, the war years, and finally the 1960's when it closed its doors for good because of fast-food competition in the city.

In The Panama, we meet 85 year old Steven Chan, the eldest son whose arranged marriage to Rosy Wing from Vancouver in 1932 was celebrated in a Chinese community "known more" for bachelors and gambling than marriages and family. Steven's brothers and their wives are also introduced as well as Steven's oldest daughter, Benita. Four of his brothers fought for Canada in Borneo and India during the Second World War. Daughter Benita talks about growing up in the restaurant among her grandparents and aunts and uncles during the 1930s and 1940s.

This is a documentary that celebrates family traditions within three generations. It's quintessentially Canadian. Music by the jazz group, Crosswinds led by soprano saxophonist, Jan Yonemoto.

[Animated Teapot - Small]


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