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Chinese-Canadian Genealogy

Resources for Canadians of Chinese origin who wish to learn more about their personal connection to Chinese-Canadian history.

Milestones in Chinese Canadian History

The following are some of the key dates and events that have defined the history of Chinese-Canadian families and affected the paths of individual families.

1788
The first Chinese to arrive on the West Coast of Canada were fifty artisans, who accompanied Captain John Meares to help establish trading post for the collection of sea-otter pelts. The fate of these early Chinese immigrants is unknown.

1858
The discovery of gold on the Fraser River attracted Chinese immigrants by way of California.

1861
On March 17, Won Alexander Cumyow was born at Port Douglas. He was the first baby of Chinese origin born in Canada.

1880s
Large-scale immigration, directly from China, began as large numbers of labourers were recruited to build the Western section of the Canadian Pacific Railway.

1885
Following completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway, the federal government introduced a "head tax", to be paid by every Chinese immigrant. Initially $50, it rose to $100 in 1900 and $500 in 1903.

1906
Newfoundland, still a separate colony of Britain, enacted a Chinese Immigration Act imposing a head tax of $300 on Chinese immigrants.

1923
The Chinese Immigration Act was passed by the federal government. This comprehensive piece of legislation was designed to exclude Chinese people from entering the country and regulate those already living there.

1947
The Chinese Immigration Act was repealed.

1949
Newfoundland joined the Confederation, bringing an end to its separate head tax on Chinese immigrants.