Photos left to right Charles Chau, Artist; Ling Fu, President of OCCA; Bob Evans, KGM Board Chair; Dr. Meng Hua, Founding Council Member of OCCA; Randy Benson, KGM Executive Director

Tribute to Kelowna’s Chinese Canadian pioneers planned

A tribute to Kelowna’s historic Chinese Canadian community got underway this weekend.

  • Apr. 22, 2019 1:30 p.m.

A tribute to Kelowna’s historic Chinese Canadian community got underway this weekend.

Kelowna’s Gospel Mission and representatives of Okanagan Chinese Canadian Association planted seeds of the Arrowleaf Balsamroot, the city’s official flower, at their downtown property on Leon.

The flower planting officially kicks off a mural project sponsored by the City of Kelowna and Central Okanagan Foundation, led by OCCA, to commemorate the history and contribution of early Chinese settlers in the region.

Charles Chau, a Hong Kong born artist and resident of Kelowna, has been commissioned to work on the project.

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“I was thrilled and honoured to be part of this,” said Chau. “When I started on this project, I began researching on the history of early Chinese settlers in the Okanagan region and was thrilled by the many contributions they made.”

The mural project borrows the visual form of traditional handscroll painting where stories are unfolded and to be read from right to left in sequential order. The mural will depict the stories of Okanagan Canadian Chinese from early 19th century to 1960s with the highlight of historical Chinatown which previously marked the area on Leon and Harvey between Water and Abbott.

The Kelowna’s Gospel Mission site was chosen as the facade is one of the few remains of the historic Chinatown. “We are particularly grateful to Kelowna’s Gospel Mission for their warm support for the mural project to be happening there.” added Meng.

An official unveiling is planned for the end of June, when the painting will be completed. A documentary video on the project to be shot by videographer Franklin Lau will be presented and made available online thereafter.

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