Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Young Adult Nonfiction Canada

The Chinese Community in Toronto

Then and Now

by (author) Arlene Chan

Dundurn Press
Initial publish date
May 2013
Canada, Canada, Emigration & Immigration
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    May 2013
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2013
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 12 to 15
  • Grade: 7 to 10
  • Reading age: 12 to 15


The history of the Chinese community in Toronto is rich with stories drawn from over 150 years of life in Canada.

Sam Ching, a laundryman, is the first Chinese resident recorded in Toronto’s city directory of 1878. A few years later, in 1881, there were 10 Chinese and no sign of a Chinatown. Today, with no less than seven Chinatowns and half a million people, Chinese Canadians have become the second-largest visible minority in the Greater Toronto Area.

Stories, photographs, newspaper reports, maps, and charts will bring to life the little-known and dark history of the Chinese community. Despite the early years of anti-Chinese laws, negative public opinion, and outright racism, the Chinese and their organizations have persevered to become an integral participant in all walks of life. The Chinese Community in Toronto shows how the Chinese make a significant contribution to the vibrant and diverse mosaic that makes Toronto one of the most multicultural cities in the world.


About the author

ARLENE CHAN, a third-generation Chinese Canadian, is a retired librarian and author of non-fiction works for children, young adults, and adults on Chinese festivals and the Chinese in Canada. An avid dragon boat racer and gold-medalist on the Canadian National Women's Dragon Boat Team, she lives, writes, and paddles in Toronto.

Arlene Chan's profile page

Editorial Reviews

This non-fiction account of an important section of Canadian history is well-suited for classroom use due to its focused chapters and informative subheadings. Students may enjoy the use of historical photographs and personal accounts of individuals.

Resource Links

The Chinese in Toronto from 1878 is indeed a stellar example of a people’s history at its best

Asian Affairs (US),

The Chinese Community in Toronto: Then and Now does not focus exclusively on Toronto. Chan frequently addresses the broader topic of the Chinese history in Canada as she describes the waves of Chinese immigration to Canada as a whole and the shameful exclusion period when discriminatory federal law prevented Chinese men from bringing their wives and children to Canada.

Canadian Materials

Other titles by Arlene Chan