(October 29, 2022, Toronto) Over 300 guests attended the 2022 Chinese Canadian Legend Award Gala, organized by the Chinese Canadian Legends Association (CCLA). Celebrating the Award’s 21st Anniversary with the theme – “Life Go On, Love wins All”, the event took place at the Sheraton Parkway hotel where 6 recipients of the 2022 Chinese Canadian Legend Award were presented with the Award. The recipients, in alphabetical order, are: Arlene Chan, Chan Hon Goh, Rev. Danny Leung, Selwyn Lo, Dr. Theresa Tam and Lenny Wong.
The Gala’s opening ceremony was led by Band of Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship York, followed by a magnificent performance of beautiful young dancers from Georgia’s Dance & Arts Cultural Centre, set to the uplifting song “We are the world” to highlight this year’s theme, “Life goes on, Love wins all”. Gracing the evening as Feature Performer was famous Canadian singer, Jeffrey Li, who has received critical acclaim in both USA and China since his spectacular performance on the NBC hit television show “America’s Got Talent” of 2018 at the age of 13. The Grand Finale of the Gala followed his sensational song of “You raise me up” which concluded the evening with the Chinese Canadian Legend spirit of love, compassion and inspiration.
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 CCLA 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, CCLA 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 Ms. Alexandra Ngan says the purpose of organizing the Chinese Canadian Legend Award is a celebration of outstanding achievements and valuable contributions of Chinese Canadians in the midst of adversities. Our theme for this year is “ Life goes on, Love wins all”. In face of challenges including the pandemic, wars, global warming, economic recession and inflation, Chinese Canadian Legend award recipients are those who not only transform challenges into achievements but also help others with a loving and caring heart. May the Chinese Canadian Legend spirit of love, compassion and inspiration guide us to a better and brighter future ahead.
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 Louisa Yue-Chan. 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.
2022 Chinese Canadian Legend Awardees Profile
Arlene is third generation Chinese Canadian, who grew up accompanying her mother Jean Lumb to events for Chinese rights and to help Chinese integration into mainstream Canadian society. She knows that today’s Chinese fought hard for their current status. A chance opportunity started her journey in documenting the Chinese narrative, and in actively promoting the preservation of Chinese history and culture in Canada. In researching a book on dragon boat racing, she unexpectedly became an elite dragon boat racing athlete, twice winning international championships for Canada. She continues her mother’s legacy in bridging the Chinese community with mainstream Canada, encouraging younger generations to keep on working for a multicultural Canada.
Chan Hon Goh
Chan Hon Goh was born into a ballet family, her parents were ballet instructors and her grandmother always encouraged her efforts to become a world class ballet dancer. She forged many firsts in the ballet world and has received much recognition including the Order of Canada. After retiring from the National Ballet of Canada, she has been teaching ballet at the Goh Ballet Academy, founded by her parents. Besides nurturing classes of new ballet dancers, she has led the Goh Ballet Youth Company to perform The Nutcracker annually, a proud new Vancouver tradition.
Rev. Danny Leung
Rev. Leung has overcome many hardships in his youth, including losing his sight. His faith helped him find the strength to finish university and become a computer engineer. In 2006 he resigned from his job to dedicate himself to community work, and was ordained a minister in 2013. He founded Joy Beyond Vision Community (JBVC), a charitable organization specializing in supporting people with sight disabilities. With the support of the Chinese church he opened a cafe to provide occupational training for the visually impaired. With a positive outlook he is a role model for the visually impaired, encouraging and supporting them to integrate into society to live a meaningful and dignified life.
Selwyn’s fifty year journey in Canada exemplifies the Chinese Canadian Legend spirit. With hard work, unwavering will and determination he pursued higher education, established a realty business and contributed to the community. He has been a member of the Golden Daffodil Charity Ball organizing committee, has fundraised for the Canadian Cancer Society in the Chinese community, and received a Volunteer Service Award from the Ontario government in 2018. All the while, he has been a single father striving for his goals with passion and faith.
Dr. Theresa Tam
Dr. Theresa Tam was born in Hong Kong and immigrated to Canada after graduating from medical school in England. She has deep experience in clinical and public health work on infectious disease prevention and treatment. During her years at the Public Health Agency of Canada, she has made significant contributions in SARS and other epidemic research and in pandemic response management. Dr. Tam became Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer in 2017, the first woman to ever hold this position.
Covid-19 has made Dr. Tam a household name. Her leadership in fighting this pandemic has won her respect and admiration from Canadians. She encourages young Chinese Canadians in public health to break down barriers and embrace opportunities in their field.
Over forty years ago, Lenny arrived in Canada as a refugee, and starting with entry level jobs, he leveraged hard work and perseverance to establish a global business Ocean Packers Inc. Through life’s ups and downs, Lenny has always embraced supporting the Vietnamese, Cambodian, Loatian and ChaoChow Chinese communities. His achievements and contributions have garnered numerous recognitions such as the Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal and the Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II Medal. How Lenny has transcended his background and environmental circumstances to attain his dreams is a blueprint for success for Canadian immigrants.