Kainoa Laimana, from Mar Jok Elementary, holds the head of the Chinese dragon during the unveiling of the commemorative sign for Chinese pioneers in City Park Saturday. - Credit: Carli Berry/Capital News

Kainoa Laimana, from Mar Jok Elementary, holds the head of the Chinese dragon during the unveiling of the commemorative sign for Chinese pioneers in City Park Saturday. - Credit: Carli Berry/Capital News

Chinese pioneers honoured

A sign was unveiled in City Park Saturday to honour the Chinese contributions to Kelowna

The community gathered to honour Chinese pioneers Saturday, in City Park.

A sign can be seen the park, commemorating Chinese immigrants in Kelowna.

Kelowna resident Tun Wong spoke at the event. Wong lived in Chinatown, which was centred around Lawrence and Leon Avenue.

Wong’ mother immigrated from China in 1929.

“She was an indentured servant,” he said, as lived as a widow for a time after her first husband died and after remarrying, had 11 children.

The sign exceeded his expectations, he said.

In 2014, an apology was given to Chinese Canadians by the provincial government for issuing numerous pieces of racist legislation.

After appearing in Kelowna in the 1900s, Chinatown was eventually demolished in the 1970s.

Mayor Colin Basran was in attendance for the unveiling of the sign, which can be seen from Abbott Street, and addressed a crowd of about 200 people.

The sign is part of celebrating Canada’s 150th and the history of Chinese settlement in Kelowna, he said.

The sign was funded by the association and through the City of Kelowna’s Canada 150 grant.

Speeches were given from members of the Okanagan Chinese Canadian Association, from Linda Digby, executive director of the Kelowna Museum Society and from other community members involved with the creation of the display.

The speeches were followed by a performance from Mar Jok Elementary students involving a legendary Chinese dragon.

Activities also ran throughout the afternoon involving a silent auction, food, and activities for children from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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A young girl sings “Oh Canada” during the unveiling of a commemorative sign for Chinese pioneers in City Park Saturday. - Credit: Carli Berry/Capital News

A young girl sings “Oh Canada” during the unveiling of a commemorative sign for Chinese pioneers in City Park Saturday. - Credit: Carli Berry/Capital News