Lecture: Brilliant and Quirky – Pioneer Stories You’ve Not Heard Before

May Wong, author of City in Colour: Rediscovered Stories of Victoria’s Multicultural Past, will delight with tales about early Victoria people beginning at 7pm on Tuesday, October 22 at the Courtenay and District Museum.

May’s stories will include: Kanakas, a medical pioneer, BC’s first professional artist, a woman with chutzpah, and more. The talk is based on her recent book which is a timely, intriguing collection of the overlooked stories of Victoria’s pioneers, trailblazers, and community builders who were also diverse people of colour.

The westernmost headquarters of the fur-trading Hudson’s Bay Company, Fort Victoria was an isolated community in the Pacific Northwest when it was established in the mid-19th Century. The presence of British HBC executives and their Métis wives, as well as French and Métis trappers, itinerant Indigenous traders, and Hawaiian workers made it a multicultural and polyglot community. When the 1858 Fraser River Gold Rush brought thousands of fortune seekers and entrepreneurs from all over the world, the diversity increased, and significant contributions were made to the province’s capital by many people of colour with fascinating stories.

Copies of City in Colour will be available for purchase ($22.00, Touchwood Editions) and signing after the talk.

Admission to the evening is $5 per Historical Society member; $6 non-members (plus GST). Advance tickets recommended.

The Courtenay and District Museum is located at 207 Fourth Street in downtown Courtenay. FMI or to purchase tickets over the phone: 250-334-0686 ext.2.

May Quen Wong
The joy of writing is in discovering and chronicling the extraordinary in ordinary people. Each person has a tale to tell from his/her life – May’s goal is to give voice to them. Born of Chinese immigrants impacted by Canada’s Head Tax laws and raised in the diversity of Montreal’s “Main,” May developed a strong social conscience.

Educated at McGill and the University of Victoria, her 17-year career in the British Columbia Public Service and volunteer activities have centred on improving the lives of those in need. Retired since 2004, May is privileged to devote her time to creating useful and beautiful things and to continuous learning for body, mind, and spirit. She and her husband have earned their 1st degree Black Belt in Kenpo Karate, and they have enjoyed travelling, meeting people, and learning new languages and cultures.

City in Colour: Rediscovered Stories of Victoria’s Multicultural Past, is May’s second book. It is a timely reminder of the importance of immigrants and their contributions to our community. A Cowherd in Paradise: From China to Canada, offered a glimpse into the lives of a family impacted by discriminative laws.