This archived Web page remains online for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. This page will not be altered or updated. Web pages that are archived on the Internet are not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards. As per the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada, you can request alternate formats of this page on the Contact Us page.
Though the Chinese had come to what is now Canada in search of gold in 1858, it was the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway that brought large numbers of Chinese men to British Columbia from 1880 to 1884. Desperate to escape the harsh conditions at home in China, these men came to Canada seeking a better life for themselves and their families. Many returned to China, but many more stayed. Some eventually brought their families over.
These hard-working people gradually moved east, in search of work and opportunities. They prospered and improved their lives, but not before facing poverty, loneliness, discrimination, dangerous work and poor living conditions.
Today, Chinese people live in every province and territory of Canada, making valuable contributions to the Canadian way of life.