The Odyssey of Our Ancestors
Emigrants from Western Europe and China (1880s)
You work with a Chinese crew laying track and blasting through the hard granite rock. It is dangerous work and many are killed. You send as much money as you can to your family back in China. Construction of the railway is finished, and you are out of work. You cannot afford the fare home to China so you travel back to Vancouver, British Columbia, where you find work in a Chinese laundry. Continue
You work as a bookkeeper in the railway office. Eventually you become the Superintendent in charge of recruiting workers from China. Your work is much easier than of other Chinese workers. Construction of the railway is finished, but you have saved your money. You start an import-export business in which your dealings are mainly with your many contacts in China. Continue
You are disappointed when the Head Tax is raised to $100 and then to $500. You despair of never being able to bring your family to Canada. You decide to move east to Toronto, Ontario, to find work in a restaurant. Your restaurant does well and you are able to pay the $500 Head Tax for your wife and your son to join you in Canada.
You are disappointed when the Head Tax is raised to $100 and then to $500. You despair of never being able to bring your family to Canada. You open your own laundry and continue to save your money. You learn your wife has died but you send for your son who comes to join you in Toronto, Ontario. You and your son open a second restaurant.
Your import-export business does well. You invest in a fish-packing plant in Vancouver Island and move there to live. You send for your wife and son in China and they join you on Vancouver Island. You have two more children and employ many Chinese workers in your plant.
You stay in Vancouver, British Columbia, but return to China briefly to bring back your wife and son. Your import-export business continues to do well. You pay the $500 Head Tax required for each person, and bring your younger brother and his family to live with you. Later, you will bring other members of your family to Canada.