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· Seeking a New Home
This is a link to a map of the cities of British Columbia with an optional close-up map of Vancouver and Victoria.

FOCUS  Vancouver and Victoria

Seeking a New Home
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This is a black and white photograph the immigration office in Victoria in 1913, with five men behind the counter.
Immigration office, Victoria, 1913. BC Archives D-08815.
In British Columbia's metropolitan areas, people of many ethnic backgrounds mingle together. Scots, Hawaiians, French Canadians, Finns, Chinese, Ethiopians and numerous others have made Victoria and Vancouver their home. Even in the 1990s, fewer than half of the people living in British Columbia were born here.
Defining ethnicity is complicated for British Columbians, as many residents have multiple ethnic backgrounds. However, it does seem that people of British and German origin form the largest part of the province's population, while among new arrivals, immigrants from Asia are the largest contingent.
Inside the German Club on Government Street, Victoria, ca. 1860. BC Archives G-04671.
This is a black and white photograph taken inside the German Club on Government Street, in Victoria, British Columbia ca. 1860.
British Columbians of Chinese origin are one of the longest-residing ethnic immigrant groups, and they form about 10 per cent of the population. The fur trader John Meares first brought Chinese shipwrights to Nootka in 1788. In 1858 many more Chinese came to British Columbia to mine for gold, and between 1881 and 1884 Chinese contract labourers came to work on building the Canadian Pacific Railway.
Image of wall section. RBCM 2000.41.1.
This is an image of words inscribed by a Chinese immigrant, on the wall of a holding cell in Victoria's immigration building ca. 1919.

Words inscribed on the walls of a basement holding cell in Victoria's immigration building by a Chinese immigrant, ca. 1919. RBCM 2000.41.1.

"I have always yearned to reach for the Gold Mountain.
But instead, it is hell, full of hardship.
I was detained in a prison and tears rolled down my cheeks.
My wife at home is longing for my letter.
Who can foretell when I will be able to return home?"

(translation by Dr. David Lai, University of Victoria)

Seeking a New Home -