On August 4, 2002 the new Chinese Memorial at the Prince George Municipal Cemetery was unveiled. Consul General Li Yuanming of the People's Republic of China, Acting Mayor Don Basserman and Lily Chow of the Prince George Chinese Heritage Preservation Society were on hand to cut the ribbon and unveil the Monument. The traditional Chinese ceremony showcased talented Lion Dancers from Edmonton and Vancouver. The ceremony began with a flurry of firecrackers while the Dancers were drummed in. After their enchanting display of skill and grace the dancers placed the Lion heads in front of the monument. Incense was burned and food was placed at the base of the Memorial as the guests were welcomed and several dignitaries spoke. Wreaths were then placed by a number of organizations. The event was capped off with a number of tasty Chinese treats for all those in attendance.
The memorial was the culmination of one and a half years of work by the Prince George Chinese Heritage Preservation Committee. When the Prince George Municipal Cemetery opened in 1915, one of the oldest areas of the park was the Chinese Section where many new immigrants were buried. The Monument commemorates the contributions that these Chinese Canadians made to the community and surrounding area. The new Monument compliments a smaller memorial located less than 10 meters away, which was erected in 1945.
The new Memorial's brass plaque is written in Chinese and says:
“Early Canadians of Chinese origin provided services by operating restaurants, laundries and grocery stores which were very much needed in the development of the city. In 1919 over five hundred Chinese labourers came to the city to build the Pacific Grand Trunk Railway in the region. In later years Chinese Canadians of different walks of life settled in Prince George. This monument marks the legacy of Chinese forefathers and the memory of the many Chinese Canadians who are buried in this cemetery.”
The erection of the Monument was a joint venture between the City of Prince George and the Chinese community. This project would not have been possible without the support and generosity of the Prince George Chinese Heritage Preservation Committee, the Chinese Freemasons, the Chinese Benevolent Association, Chee Duck Tong, the Chinese Student and Professional Association, the Prince George Canada-China Friendship Association and many individuals, businesses and other organizations in Prince George.
The City of Prince George is proud to be a part of this project to celebrate the contributions of many Chinese Canadians that have helped built Prince George from its beginnings in the early 1900's to the great community that we enjoy today. We are fortunate to have such dedicated people to build our community. The City of Prince George would like to thank all those involved for making this project a success.
For more information on the PG Chinese Heritage Preservation Society or the history of the Chinese community in Prince George please contact Lily Chow (PGCHPS - chair) at 562-5701.