(November 17, 2019, Toronto) 400 guests attended the 2019 Chinese Canadian Legend Award Gala, organized by the Chinese Canadian Legends Association (CCLA) last night (Nov. 16). Celebrating the Award’s 20th Anniversary with the theme – “Into a New Era, On with the Legends”, the event took place at the Sheraton Parkway hotel where 6 recipients of the 2019 Chinese Canadian Legend Award were presented with the Award. The recipients, in alphabetical order, are: Rev. Dr. Sam Chan, Mr. Keith Kwan, Mr. Tim Kwan, Dr. Robert Lee, Dr. Dominique Shum-Tim, and Ms. Bing Wu.
The Gala’s opening ceremony was led by Band of Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship York, followed by a spectacular theme dance performance by beautiful young ballerinas from Georgia’s Dance & Arts Cultural Centre, set to an uplifting Chinese classic hit. The Gala also had the honorable presence of Ruth Ann Onley, wife of former Lieutenant Governor of Ontario David Onley, as special guest to perform a mini Broadway show, featuring the title song from “Sound of Music” and “Do-Re-Mi” , accompanied by 19 dancers aged 6 to 16 from Georgia’s Dance & Art Cultural Centre. Her moving melodies brought the Gala to an unforgettable Grand Finale featuring the patriotic anthem “We are the People of the Maple Leaf”. Lyrics of the heartwarming song were written by the Honorable David Onley himself.
VIPs attending the Gala included Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion Mary Ng, MP Jean Yip, Acting Consul General pf People’s Republic of China Zhang Yao Dong, City Councilors Godwin Chan, Castro Liu, Isa Lee, Deputy Director of Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office Florence Tsang, and Deputy Police Chief of Toronto Peter Yuen.
Mr. Bammy Wong, President of CCLA, says, “Ever since launching the Award, we have continued to explore and reflect on our future direction and vision. Thanks to the efforts of our team members, as well as the acknowledgment, participation and support from awardees and community over the years, the Award itself has become one of the most prestigious, influential and distinct awards. Entering a new era, we will continue to acknowledge the tremendous efforts of Chinese Canadians in contributing to the community.” He also says that ABNA is honoured to have former Senator Honourable Dr. Vivienne Poy and former Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba the Honourable Philip S. Lee as the Honorary Patrons of the Award.
There are many individuals worthy of recognition in the Chinese Canadian community, and each year, ABNA receives many nominations from the enthusiastic and supportive community. Mr. Stanley Kwan, chartered accountant and head of the selection committee, says, “The selection criteria change with the times: Although we do the same thing every year, we will listen to the voices of the community and incorporate their ideas, so that we can be objective and fair and choose individuals that deserve to be our role models.” There are 24 people on this year’s selection panel, of which 18 are past recipients, and the remaining six are from Chinese Canadian Legends Association. After lengthy discussions and a comprehensive review, six deserving individuals were selected.
Organizing Committee Co-chair Alexandra Ngan said the life stories of this year’s recipients are all unique but equally brilliant. “They are not only role models in the Chinese community, but also have impact on the mainstream society. Their perseverance in the face of challenges, outstanding achievements and generous contribution to society would prove to be great motivation and inspiration to the community.”
Mr. Dennis Au-Yeung, another Organizing Committee Co-chair, points out that, “The recipients are all Canadians who are worthy of praise. We hope that through the annual award, the unique values and beliefs, the fighting spirit and giving culture of Chinese Canadian immigrants will be passed onto the next generation growing up in the West.”
Since 2000, a total of 124 outstanding individuals have been awarded and 20 books were published to showcase their legendary stories. Mr. Stephen Siu, Chair of the Editorial Committee, stresses the importance of the book: “The Award has made its mark in history by recording and publishing stories of distinguished Chinese Canadians. Their inspiring stories will become invaluable future reference for research on Chinese Canadian immigrants and motivation for future change in the community. We have a good editorial team this year with Annie Jin and Clorie Ng as Chinese writers and the English versions written by Connie Woo and Dan Woo. The stories are fascinating and highly readable.”
The book collections are kept in the Richard Charles Lee Canada-Hong Kong Library at the University of Toronto, as well as the libraries at University of Ottawa, University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, University of Victoria, and McGill University. Since 2018, the collections have also joined the Hong Kong Central Library, the libraries of the University of Hong Kong, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Baptist University, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Chu Hai College of Higher Education and Canadian International School of Hong Kong.
2019 Chinese Canadian Legend Awardees Profile
Rev. Dr. Sam Chan
Since founding the Richmond Hill Christian Community Church (RHCCC) in Toronto more than 30 years ago, Pastor Sam Chan has led the church to develop into a multi-cultural, multi-lingual and multi-generational congregation. His belief in a “purpose-driven life” has effected many life changes to people inside and outside of RHCCC. The church also serves other ethnic communities besides the Chinese community through programs such as helping the poor locally, caring for the sick, and educating the next generation. Today, RHCCC has become the largest Chinese church in North America and is one of the landmarks and shining lights in the City of Richmond Hill.
Mr. Keith Kwan
With an early start as a volunteer for charities since childhood, Keith Kwan has gathered lots of community experience and leadership skills which came to fruition in 2005 when he formed a volunteer group to assist non-profit organizations in the Chinese community. While contributing greatly to the community, the group has also helped many students acquire work experience and leadership skills outside their classrooms. In 2018, Keith and his friends named their group “YOUnity In Success”. Under his guidance, many young people are able to realize their potentials and become the next generation of leaders. Keith is also invited by many institutions to share his experiences and advice in planning youth volunteer programs.
Mr. Tim Kwan
For the past 25 years, Mr. Tim Kwan has taken it as his responsibility to build senior care facilities and nursing homes to serve the elderly in the Chinese Canadian community. Since joining Mon Sheong Foundation in 1994, he has been on the Expansion and Building committees, Board of Directors, and President and Chairman of the Foundation. He is a main driving force behind two new long-term care facilities projects and independent senior living residences, and also a big promoter of private care services in recent years. A former engineer and developer, and now Chair of Mon Sheong Foundation, his expertise and experience help ensure that Chinese elders enjoy the best housing and nursing care.
Dr. Robert Lee
A visionary and a philanthropist, Robert Lee has committed much of his time, expertise and resources to building a better future for British Columbians and Canadians. Since graduating from the University of British Columbia (UBC) in 1956, he has been dedicated to giving back to his alma mater. Over the years, he has touched the lives of many and set the bar for community involvement through tireless commitment to different groups, His contributions have been recognized on many occasions from a variety of organizations with numerous awards, including the Order of Canada in 1999 and the Order of British Columbia in 1990. In 1996, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws by UBC.
Dr. Dominique Shum-Tim
A heart surgeon at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal, Dr. Dominique Shum-Tim is known as the “Contemporary Norman Bethune” for his charitable work to help patients in the remote areas of China. Besides visiting these areas to offer free clinics and treatment, he also imparted his medical knowledge to local doctors. He also became a member and later on Vice-president of Toronto’s Bethune Medical Development Association of Canada (BMDAC), which aims to promote the dedication and professionalism of Dr. Bethune, organizing specialists to visit China for exchanges and medical support. His selfless dedication has inspired many of his Canadian colleagues and counterparts in China to join the “Dr. Bethune Movement”.
Ms. Bing Wu
A self-made entrepreneur who founded her own software company, Bing Wu has fully applied her experience in managing modern enterprises to the management of her charitable work. Through her community involvement, she helped Canadian Chinese develop businesses opportunities and seek government assistance. She also extended her volunteer work to help fundraising activities of Orbis Flying Eye Hospital. Since 2006, Bing started making donations to Fuhui Education Foundation to help children and youths in poor areas of China receive education through scholarships. After retiring from work in 2011, she got involved with writing letters to the Fuhui funded students in Sichuan and led a Letter Writing Group to touch the hearts of these children.