11am-5pm daily ( closing at 4pm, Sunday) until July 13, 2014
At CCC Museum (555 Columbia St., Vancouver)
Visitors at the “Exhibition of Historical Artifacts of Overseas Chinese & Historical Figures of the Ing Clan” are delighted to be greeted by cheerful volunteers who offer to walk them through the exhibition, regaling them with stories in English, Cantonese and Mandarin.
“This is a powerful display that is long overdue”, remarked Maurice Copithorne, a retired diplomat who in 1973 represented Canada in signing the humanitarian agreement in Beijing that made it easier for people coming directly from Mainland China to be reunited with their families in Canada. He and his wife Tama were one of the many non-Cantonese-speaking visitors over the weekend at the month-long exhibition organized by the Ing Suey Sun Tong Association at the Chinese Cultural Centre Museum at 555 Columbia Street in Vancouver.
To support the Ing Association in reaching regular British Columbians who do not speak Cantonese or Taishanese (Toisanese) , the PCHC-MoM Society agreed to provide volunteer guides four days a week at the exhibition to animate the display in English, and sometimes in Mandarin as well.
Mr Wu Xia Ru, the octogenarian initiator of this exhibition, is especially grateful that some of the volunteers are able to relate in Mandarin/ Putonghua the struggles and triumphs of the pioneer Chinese in Canada. “We purposely recruited Mandarin-speaking volunteers,” explained Chunli Yang of PCHC-MoM Society, “because it is so important for recent immigrants from Taiwan and China who don’t understand Cantonese to know the hardship and contribution of those in the past who made it possible for us to participate fully as Canadians today.” She is pleased that these stories are touching the hearts of many Mandarin-speaking visitors who show up at the exhibition.
In the last three weeks most of the English-speaking visitors to the museum were tourists from around the world. “We hope to bring in more regular British Columbians, especially young people, to learn about these little-known stories which contribute to a more comprehensive history of B.C.”, said President Benny Eng of the Ing Association. “We are grateful to the Pacific Canada Heritage Centre – Museum of Migration Society for their assistance in helping us reach the mainstream society.”
The exhibition is open every day until Sunday, July 13, and PCHC volunteer guides will be available on Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Group visits for French-speaking organizations in B.C. can be arranged by prior appointment with Winnie Cheung of the PCHC-MoM Society at 604-836-8838.