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Section title: Chinese
Introduction | History |  Daily Life | Culture | References


History

Finding Work

When the Canadian Pacific Railway was completed in 1885, the railway workers needed to find new jobs. Several thousand Chinese workers returned to China after the railway was completed. Many more could not afford the cost of the ticket. Many stayed in British Columbia, especially in Victoria and Vancouver. Some settled in the small towns along the railway line. Some Chinese people became gardeners, grocers, cooks or servants in wealthy White households.

Moving east, the Chinese mostly settled in towns and cities, opening laundries and restaurants or cafés. These businesses didn't need much money, the knowledge of English or special training. Some workers found mining jobs in what is now Alberta, others worked as cooks on farms and cattle ranches. These jobs were seasonal and so they had to return to cities like Calgary, Edmonton, Lethbridge and Red Deer for the winter.

 
Employee of the Innisfail Laundry, Innisfail, Alberta, 1904   A Chinese man using traditional pole baskets to carry his vegetables from door to door

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