One immigrant family’s story – the Chans Julie Chan was born in 1944 in Fraser Mills. The following year, her sister June was born. They were named after the months in which they were born. Their mother, Laura Suey Ying Jung was born in Burnaby on a five-acre Douglas Road farm – near Still Creek farm. Laura attended Douglas Road Elementary School but only finished Grade 8. Unlike many of her peers, she refused to participate in an “arranged marriage”. As a result, she was 30 when she married, which was considered very late – but she wanted to marry for love – no arranged marriage for her!
Laura Suey Ying Jung
Julie’s father, Puy Yuen Chan came to Canada when he was 12 years old. He came to join his father Chin Suey Hong, who had already come here, hoping to earn enough money to bring his family, one by one, to the new country. Puy Yuen spoke no English.
Embarassed by his size in comparison to his classmates, he attended one English class and never returned. He worked at the mill for many years and died without ever having learned to speak English. After he came to Canada, Puy never saw another member of his family again. This was not unusual for many of the immigrants of the era. In the years prior to 1950, this little Chinese settlement included four Chinese families that lived in the houses in Fraser Mills: the Wongs, the Kongs, the Lims and the Chans. However, with the wave of immigrants in the 1950s, an additional two families arrived – the Wongs and the Dongs. There were also many single Chinese men that lived in the mill bunkhouses. According to George Wong, besides the South Asian community, a number of Russian, Scottish and Filipino mill workers who could not afford to pay the rent also lived in this area; they squatted in run-down houses very close to the river. He also recollects that a number of Japanese
The Immigrants : Japanese, South Asian, Chinese and one family’s story