Canada shared a rich, multi-faceted history with China long before it recognized the People’s Republic of China in 1970. John Meehan brings to light the activities of early Canadian missionaries, business people, government officials, and adventurers in Shanghai, the gateway to China and an important cultural contact zone. These sojourners’ experiences – which unfolded against a backdrop of war and revolution and Canada’s own evolution from colony to nation – reflected Canada’s deepening relationship with China and the troubling asymmetries that underpinned it. Although Canadians, like other foreigners, had left Shanghai by the early 1950s, their lives and activities foreshadowed more recent Canadian initiatives in China.
John D. Meehan is an assistant professor of history at Campion College at the University of Regina.