Won Alexander Cumyow

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Canadian First: The Life of Won Alexander Cumyow (1861-1955)

by Janet Mary Nicol

Canada’s west coast accommodated “two solitudes”—people of the dominant English-speaking community and those of Asian heritage. One man who tried to bridge these separate, often hostile worlds was Vancouver pioneer, Won Alexander Cumyow. He was the first Chinese born in Canada in 1861, and despite limitations imposed on people of Asian background, found opportunities as a successful merchant, police court interpreter, legal advisor and advocate. Cumyow was a father when the vote was taken away from Chinese-Canadians and a grandfather when the vote was given back. His life-time efforts at reconciliation between “east and west” tell a larger story.

So begins this biography of a Vancouver pioneer, first published
in the Chinese Canadian Historical Society of BC newsletter and
now available on-line at the Ormsby Review. (December 2016) at –

http://bcbooklook.com/2016/12/28/won-alexander-cumyow-pure-canadian/

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