Chinese Immigrants

When Canada was building the Canadian Pacific Railway, they realized that it was slow and expensive so they hired the Chinese to work on the railroad. The Chinese were experienced with working with explosives and worked cheap. Economy in China during that time was bad and so the workers had lower wages compared to Canada. The Chinese sought this as a good opportunity and worked on the railway to send money to their families in China.  Canada had promised them that after working on the railroad, they would be brought back to China, but that never happened. Thus, the Chinese men had to live in Canada , but there was only men so they brought over their wives and families. Soon more and more Chinese came and settle and created Chinatowns all over the country. The Canadian government saw the Chinese as a treat to their “Canadian  Society” so they began to make measures.

This is a commemoration towards the Chinese railway works in Canada. *taken at Vancouver Chinatown

Head Tax and Discrimination

In 1885, the measures were put in place. The Canadian government issued the Head Tax policy making it harder for the Chinese to immigrate into Canada. The Chinese had to pay $50 and increased to $500 (a years worth of salary) in order to immigrate to Canada. This became an obstacle and the immigrants dropped to 8,000 in 1883 to 124 immigrants in 1887. Thought his still didn’t stop the immigrants. The white Canadians didn’t like the idea of  the Chinese stealing their jobs because the CPR was coming to an end so they needed to look for new work.  So in 1923, the government passed the Chinese Immigration Act, also known as the Chinese Exclusion Act. This act prevented an Chinese person from immigrating to Canada. The Chinese were also not allowed to vote in any municipal, provincial and federal elections. They believed that the Chinese were less educated and had the same status as women. The Chinese were discriminated and the whites constantly abused them. In 1907, a mob of white men came into Chinatown and destroyed every single window. The Chinese and whites did not coexist with each other until after World War II.

The 1885 Royal Commission on Chinese Immigrationclick here
Chinese Immigration Act 1923, click here

A newspaper article about the Head tax from 1885-1923, the picture in the article is the what the head tax looked like

After World War II

This is a monument for the Chinese Canadians for their work on the railway and fighting in WII

During the World War II, the Chinese Canadians fought along side the Canadians. Also after the war, Canada saw the results of the racism from the Nazis. The newspapers demanded that Canada would treat the Chinese as equals. So in 1947, part of the Chinese exclusion law was abolished, and completely abolished in 1967. The Chinese have stuck together although these times and created strong communities, a great example is Chinatown. The discrimination of  the Chinese has decreases greatly and the Chinese and Europeans are able to live side by side with each other.

This is the description plate for the monument statue above. *taken at Vancouver Chinatown


Adolphe, Joseph. “Report of the Royal Commission on Chinese Immigration report and aaaaaaaaaevidence.” (1885): n.pag. Web. 28 Apr 2012.

. “Chinese Immigration Act, 1923.” Wikisource. N.p., 29/04/2011. Web. 28 Apr 2012.


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