By Carmen Choi
The University of Toronto’s Richard Charles Lee Canada-Hong Kong Library (RCL Library) has created a finding aid for their collection of records from the former Senator Vivienne Poy’s Office, dated from 1997 to 2012. This collection encompasses Dr. Poy’s senatorial and community speeches, correspondence, research papers, books, and photos amassed during her service in the Senate of Canada. Dr. Poy donated the papers to the university upon her retirement from the Senate to enrich U of T’s collections in Asian Canadian studies.
The finding aid provides indexes to Dr. Poy’s collection and is searchable online through the library network at the U of T Libraries Catalogue or RCL Library’s Webpage. The documents can be viewed in hard copy at the RCL Library.
During her service as Senator, Dr. Poy actively represented Asian Canadians. As the first Canadian of Asian descent to be appointed to the Senate, she regarded her position as extremely important. Upon learning she was to be Canada’s first Asian senator, she remarked: “I felt, why did it take so long? You can always say, ‘better late than never,’ but the first Chinese came to Canada in 1788. That’s a very long time.” In 2001, she initiated and proposed the Declaration of May as Asian Heritage Month to the Senate.
As an author, entrepreneur, fashion designer, and historian, Dr. Poy is a multidisciplined, multitalented individual. Prior to serving in the Senate, she completed MA and PhD degrees in History at the University of Toronto. Dr. Poy served as Chancellor of the University of Toronto from 2003 to 2006.