The Government of Canada established the Community Historical Recognition Program (CHRP) in 2008 for a five-year period. Its purpose was to acknowledge and to educate Canadians about the historical experiences of ethno-cultural communities affected by wartime discriminatory measures and immigration restrictions applied in Canada.
The CHRP has made available $13.5 million toward 68 community projects that promote a lasting awareness of the communities’ experiences.
“The wartime measures and immigration restrictions experienced by those communities mark an unfortunate period in our nation’s history. The policies were race‑based and inconsistent with values that Canadians hold today.”
– The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada
[Selected projects are featured below. For full list of projects click on green banner above.]
Portal and online-accessible digital archive for Chinese Canadian projects produced for CHRP
Recipient: University of British Columbia, Vancouver
This signature project yielded a single major repository of information about the Chinese Head Tax and the history of Chinese Canadians. Stories, testimonials and other resources are being made available for posterity, both in material form and at a portal hosted by the University of British Columbia.
The project comprises a bilingual portal; a searchable digital archive open to the public on the portal; two learning resources to use in tandem with the digital collections; and three portable mobile museum kiosks, which have been installed in Ottawa, Vancouver, Toronto and Montréal. The kiosks have content based on the information in the portal and archive, and are updated regularly as new information is added.
Chinese Canadian Stories: Uncommon Histories from a Common Past
Recipient: University of British Columbia and the Initiative for Student Teaching and Research in Chinese Canadian Studies, Vancouver
In a series of four workshops and two symposia, students conducted oral history research to preserve the history and experiences of Chinese-Canadians from 1885 to 1947 under the Chinese Head Tax and the Chinese Immigration Act. This project aimed to engage a young generation of Chinese-Canadian students with members of their community, particularly elders.
Students used the new Head Tax Registers Database at Library and Archives Canada to research early Chinese migration to Canada. All historical materials created from this project are accessible to the public as part of the university’s library collections.
The Komagata Maru Era — Book
Recipient: Peripheral Visions Film and Video Inc., Toronto
Peripheral Visions produced an illustrated, hardcover book to bring to life the societal, cultural, political and religious aspects of the story of the Komagata Maru. The text of The Komagata Maru Era is based on the transcript of the award‑winning film Continuous Journey. High‑resolution scans from archival film footage were printed for the first time to expand the limited repository of photographs of the events surrounding the Komagata Maru while it was in Vancouver harbour.
The first book to offer a South Asian‑Canadian perspective on the history of the Komagata Maru, the book offers all Canadians, including young people and Canadians of South Asian descent, a full account of the story of the Komagata Maru. Copies were distributed free to schools, universities, colleges and community centres with high concentrations of people of South Asian origin.
The Komagata Maru Incident: An Interactive Online Learning Tool
Recipient: Simon Fraser University, Vancouver
SFU created a comprehensive website about the Komagata Maru incident, featuring interactive tools and learning modules. The website tells about this important episode in Canadian history to the Indo-Canadian community, educators, students, researchers and all Canadians. The project compiled documents from the national, British Columbia and Vancouver archives.
A key feature of the website is the integration of primary source materials from Hugh Johnston’s book The Voyage of the Komagata Maru, an authoritative text about the incident, which contains papers, legal documents and photos. In addition, supplementary materials from or relating to that period were digitized — books, photos, interviews, poetry, novels and artwork — from public and private collections. Also included are an online index to personal papers, photos, reminiscences of the South Asian community, and links to related online resources.