About Us

Our Mission

The Foundation to Commemorate the Chinese Railroad Workers in Canada is a registered charitable organization with a mission to honor and remember the Chinese Railroad Workers who played a vital role in building the first transcontinental railway (the CPR) that connected Canada geographically and politically. Our goals include promoting understanding and awareness of the significant contributions made by Chinese Railroad Workers to Canada’s history, raising awareness about the unjust Immigration Acts imposed on Chinese pioneers and their families, establishing scholarships, and supporting other Canadian charitable organizations that promote Chinese Canadian History. We are dedicated to preserving the legacy of Chinese Railroad Workers and fostering a better understanding of their contributions to Canada’s rich cultural heritage.

The Story of Our Logo

The original logo is inspired by the traditional Chinese word “鬥”, which symbolizes the fighting spirit , struggles and endurance of Chinese railway workers overcoming hardship and changing their destinies.

2023 marks the 100th anniversary since the passing of the Chinese Exclusion Act in Canada, and our logo pays tribute to this historic moment. The 100th anniversary logo draws inspiration from a downtown monument, with the addition of a person in the design. This version specifically highlights the significant contributions of Chinese railway workers to Canada’s history and serves as a poignant reminder of their lasting legacy.

History Timeline

1989

 

Photo credit: Tin Chung

Erected a monument dedicated to the Chinese Railroad Workers

On September 24, 1989, the Chinese Railway Workers Memorial was dedicated, located across Blue Jays Way from the Rogers Centre. This monument serves as a poignant tribute to the hundreds of Chinese laborers who lost their lives due to industrial accidents and unsafe working conditions while building the transcontinental Canadian Pacific Railway in British Columbia. The memorial stands as a significant rail landmark in the city, thanks to the efforts of the late James Pon, a Toronto businessman, and is commemorated annually by the Chinese community every Canada Day, in a rededication ceremony hosted by the Foundation to Commemorate Chinese Railroad Workers in Canada.

The sculpture, designed by Eldon Garnet, depicts two life-sized workers carefully maneuvering a beam into place to complete the construction of a railway trestle, symbolizing the sacrifices made by Chinese workers during the railway’s construction. Eldon Garnet, a multidisciplinary artist and novelist based in Toronto, Ontario, is also a professor at the Ontario College of Art and Design. Notably, Garnet has been involved in other railway-related commissions, such as the 1995 TIME: AND A CLOCK, which adorned the 1911 Queen Street bridge over the Don River adjacent to Don Station at its original location. The new bridge replaced a level crossing over the tracks and required the addition of a staircase down to the station platforms.

1991

Assisted in writing a book for Heritage Series of an early Chinese pioneer who laboured on the CPR, and how the head tax and Exclusion Act affected his family. Sponsored by the Ontario government for Grade 4 students.

1992 to present

Established scholarships to post-graduate students to  study Canadian history at Canadian universities.

1992

Sponsored Asia and Vancouver tours for “Iron Road” opera for Tapestry New Opera Works.

1997

Sponsored “Canadian Steel, Chinese Grit” documentary on Chinese Canadian History for public education through schools and libraries.

2006

Worked with the Ontario Coalition of Head Tax Payers and Families for redress from the Canadian government.

2007

Sponsored Chinese Canadian Historical Exhibition and Documentary “From Gold Mountain to Mainstream”, which features Prime Minister addressing in the House of Commons on redress, and highlights the contributions from Chinese Canadians in building Canada.

2009

Sponsored premier of the film IRON ROAD, raising awareness of the role of the Chinese Railroad Workers in the 1880s.

2023

July 1, 2023 proclaimed as Chinese People’s Railroad Day by different province and Ottawa

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Board Members