Canada is a nation of immigrants, comprised of individuals not unlike Y. P. Heung, who arrived in British Columbia in the 1960s to a seek a better life for his family. Asian migration remains a critical facet of BC history, and an important building block of this province’s multicultural communities. It is a story that must be told, documented, and preserved for future generations. To that end, the Y. P. Heung Foundation is excited to support projects that have taken on this task.

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Cumberland Museum and Archives

The Cumberland Museum and Archives (CMA) is located in the historic village of Cumberland, Vancouver Island, a once-thriving coal mining community that also boasted a large Chinese settlement. The CMA, which houses the archives and artifacts of the historic community, is dedicated to telling “the story of the people of Cumberland – the rich, the poor, the powerful, the rebellious, the righteous, and the radical.”

To help the museum make its resources more accessible to researchers and the public alike, the Y. P. Heung Foundation has provided a two-year grant to the CMA’s ambitious Database Migration Project. Over the course of 2018 and 2019, the museum will use the web hosting services of Artefactual Systems Inc. while museum staff transfer its vast database (currently in Microsoft ) to Access to Memory (AtoM), a web-based archival repository. Museum staff will also photograph each item to include in the new database.

“This project will make our collections widely available. This is really important as a remote museum and it enables us to continue to remain deeply connected to the descendants of those who once worked and lived here, while boosting our relevancy as a museum.” – Michelle Willard, Executive Director, Cumberland Museum and Archives

Asian Canadian and Asian Migration Studies at UBC

Established in 2014, the Asian Canadian and Asian Migration Studies Program at UBC (ACAM) “explores the history, culture, and contemporary development of Asian migrant communities within and beyond Canada.” The program focuses on innovative teaching and learning initiatives that encourage collaborative research with Asian communities in Canada.

“Asians on Vancouver Island: Discovering Stories, Reimagining Histories” is a project that embodies ACAM’s efforts to facilitate collaborative research between students and local communities. The project “seeks to document and share previously unknown histories of Asians on Vancouver Island and its adjacent islands. As a major point of entry for most early Asian migrants to the West Coast, Vancouver Island is an ideal site to explore cross-cultural connections and interactions across the Pacific, and to reconsider narratives of contact that go beyond colonial narratives that focus on white European settlers.” Students will work directly with historian Dr. John Price (University of Victoria) in a project done in collaboration with the Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation and the Land of Maquinna Cultural Society. The Y. P. Heung Foundation is providing a two-year grant to “Asians on Vancouver Island: Discovering Stories, Reimagining Histories,” which will help cover research expenses and equipment, and the hiring and training of research assistants.

“The support of the YP Heung Foundation makes it possible for ACAM students to conduct first-hand research on the earliest Chinese arrivals on the West Coast. These stories reveal a vibrant history of transpacific contacts that predate the establishment of British Columbia. By sharing these stories, our students hope to contribute to our understanding of Asian-Indigenous relations while acknowledging the Indigenous communities who have stewarded these stories to this day.” – Chris Lee, Director, Asian Canadian and Asian Migration Studies Program

Museum of Vancouver

The Museum of Vancouver (MOV), which has been a fixture in Vancouver for over a hundred years, is home to a vast collection of historical, ethnographic, archaeological, Asian studies, and natural history objects. An independent non-profit organization, the MOV is “dedicated to encouraging a deeper understanding of Vancouver through stories, objects, and shared experiences.”

Among its holdings is the Chinese Canadian Collection, which contains over 1100 items that document the lives of immigrants and their descendants from the 1860s to the 1940s. The Y. P. Heung Foundation is pleased to fund the digitization and critical assessment of this collection, and the establishment of a cultural partnership with the Cumberland Museum and Archives.

“The support from the YP Heung Foundation is critical for the organization and sets the ground work for MOV’s next major exhibition planned for 2020 that will feature and highlight the contributions and history of the Chinese community here in British Columbia” – Mauro Vescera, CEO, Museum of Vancouver

The Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre

The Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre (VACT) is a non-profit organization and a diversely mandated professional company that was founded in 2000. It is committed to fostering, producing and premiering new Asian-Canadian work. VACT is one of two professional companies in Canada whose mandate focuses on Asian-Canadian theatre artists.

VACT seeks to provide opportunities for Asian-Canadian theatre artists to play significant theatrical roles, and to improve their skills in acting, directing, and script writing. They also foster public knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of Asian cultures through the presentation of contemporary theatrical productions that feature Asian stories and cultural themes.

VACT occupies a truly unique ecology within Canadian theatre. They occupy this brave new territory and have had tremendous artistic and box office success on a number of fronts. Over 8000 audience members have attended the widely acclaimed, Empire of the Son and four plays from our New Play Development Program, the MSG Labs, have gone on to a mainstage production with one of them resulting in a national tour. In 2018, VACT received its first Jessie Richardson Award, which was a significant accomplishment.

The Y. P. Heung Foundation is pleased to present VACT with a donation that will go towards upgrading the theatre’s website, and towards an organizational rebranding. VACT is at a turning point in their existence and we are happy to support their efforts.

“VACT creates world class theatre for everyone and the stories they tell on stage touch everyone. Our vision is to reach everyone who cares about Asian-Canadian culture by staging their stories.” – Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre