The Conference on Chinese Immigration to Canada, marking the book launch of  Passage to Promise Land: Voices of Chinese Immigrant Women to Canada (McGill-Queen’s Press, 2013) by Vivienne Poy, was held at the Richard Charles Lee Canada-Hong Kong Library on September 25, 2013.

Dr Poy, former senator and Chancellor of the University of Toronto, was on hand to give the opening remarks in front of a large audience.

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Introduced by Ruth Hayhoe, Professor at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, a panel of experts was then invited to present their papers on the experience of Chinese immigrants to Canada.

Jeffrey G. Reitz (R.F. Harney Professor in Ethnic, Immigration and Pluralism Studies) gave a talk on the “Comparisons of the Success of Racial Minority Immigrant Offspring”, with a special focus on the Chinese immigrant group. Reitz touched upon the Canadian context as the receiving society, and analyzed the impact of the policy of multiculturalism on the experience of immigrants.

Panellists at Chinese Immigration Conference

Lucia Lo (Professor of Geography, York University) with her paper entitled “Chinese Moving Through Canada: Closed Door, Open Door, Revolving Door” discussed the Chinese immigrant experience in relation to Canadian immigration policies and historical events taking place in the home countries. The third speaker, Gordon Pon (Associate Professor of Social Work, Ryerson University), related personal memories of growing up in Ottawa in his paper “Reimagining “Slow Boats” and Chinese Cafés: The Need for Asian Canadian Studies” and made a passionate plea for a new approach to the study of the Asian immigrant groups in Canada.

The presentations were followed by comments from Joseph Wong, Director of the Asian Institute at the Munk School of Global Affairs, as well as a Q&A session with members of the audience.

This event was sponsored by the Richard Charles Lee Canada-Hong Kong Library, with the York Centre for Asian Research, Asian Institute, Harney Program in Ethnic, Immigration and Pluralism Studies, and the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office as co-sponsors.

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