Kelowna and the Okanagan have a notable Asian heritage, and since 2002, May has officially been recognized as Asian Heritage Month in Canada.
May represents an opportunity to celebrate the rich and substantial contributions that Asian cultures have made to the story of Canada.
On May 29, the Kelowna Museums Society celebrates an important piece of local history with a guided cemetery tour.
Local historian Bob Hayes will guide attendees on a fascinating walk through Kelowna Memorial Park Cemetery – a walk that is really a stroll through the past. Guests will get acquainted with the characters and hear stories from early Kelowna.
In recognition of Asian Heritage Month, the tour will focus on the Chinese and Japanese section of the cemetery.
Local resident Shui Lee, has guided a special component of the tours in the past and said the upcoming tour is a must for anyone who has an interest in Canadian history.
“The cemetery tour gives us an opportunity to speak out for the dead. It is a way of remembering. The tour gives people a greater understanding of our history and a fuller appreciation of what we have today,” said Lee.
“Our ancestors used to walk through the dark. I don’t want the history to be forgotten as each one of them has their own story we can share.”
The Kelowna Museums Society’s education and programming coordinator Jen Garner, said the stories of Kelowna’s early Asian pioneers are vital.
“Kelowna has a rich and fascinating Asian history, and it is important that these stories are told. In fact, you cannot tell the story of Kelowna without understanding the contributions that these early settlers made to the city. I hope folks will attend the tour on the 29th and those who do are certainly in for a treat,” she said.
The tour is taking place at Kelowna Memorial Park Cemetery. The tour begins at 10 a.m. and will run until noon. The tour fee is $5 per person.
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