In the year of 1858 during the gold rush in the North Western part of Canada.  The Government of Canada decided to build a railroad across the land to connect the East and the West Coasts.  The railway, named “CPR” was to have 3800 kilometers and needed a lot of laborers to help build this project.  Consequently, a lot of the people in Guangdong had arrived and worked in Canada.  They have not much skills or special training, other than to work at any job as gold miners and railroad workers. They had to stand together and unite to survive because of their language barrier and discrimination from others.  The “Tongs” and various Associations were formed by their fellowmen from different regions of the Canton province of China.  The “Fuk Sin Tong” was the first association belonged to the people of Zhong Shan Region , also known as Heung San County.  It was shut down due to the recession and lack of membership supports. 
In the year of 1914, a group of Zhong Shan people organized a liaison office in Vancouver and started the Shon Yee Benevolent Association.  This resulted in the safety and betterment of the people from the Zhong Shan region.  They protected the basic rights for the Zhong Shan people living in Vancouver.  On May 9, 1915, after one year of preparation, Shon Yee Benevolent Association became official.  The first election of directors was held at Vancouver, 315 East Pender Street.  Mr. Cheung Yue Bak was the one that suggested that Shon Yee uses the name “Iron City Shon Yee”.  The meaning behind those words is to build the association as durable as the iron township of Heung San County and to build it here in Canada.  

During the First World War, all businesses were in a slump and caused Shon Yee to shut down its operation until 1917.
In 1918, the association gradually started its services.  A branch office in Victoria was founded in the same year. In 1922, the Shon Yee members formed the share holders and raised money to purchase the first building located at 100 East Pender Street, Vancouver.  In 1923, another branch office was founded in Calgary, Alberta.
1935 – Sold the Vancouver building and re-purchased the one at Vancouver’s 254-262 East Pender Street as their headquarters.  The Association also purchased the branch office location in Victoria in the same year.
1956 – The Vancouver headquarters authorized the branch President  to purchase a property in Calgary’s  Chinatown.
1957 – Shon Yee in Vancouver bought a high rise located at the corner of East Hastings Street and Jackson Ave. and named it “Shon Yee Building”.
1972 - The Vancouver headquarter assisted the Calgary’s branch office to purchase the property at 109, 2nd Street in Calgary.
1977 – Shon Yee moved the headquarter from Pender Street to the Shon Yee Building on Jackson Ave.  Vancouver.
1983 – The Calgary branch office constructed a 3 storey building in Calgary.
1986 – Shon Yee headquarters purchased the property at 618-620 East Hastings in Vancouver.  Also purchased a commercial property at Vancouver’s 612 East Hastings.
1987 – Assisted Victoria’s branch office to purchase the corner Gas Station property on Government Street in Victoria.
1988 – The headquarters used the land that was purchased in 1986 to build the Shon Yee Seniors Building with the cooperation of the federal government and BC Housing Corporation.

2004 – May 23rd.  Shon Yee celebrated its 90th anniversary.  It was also the 30th anniversary of the Athletic division and the 16th anniversary of the Seniors division.
2008 - July 6th.  Shon Yee succesfully hosted the 7th Worldwide Zhong Shan Convention in Vancouver.
2009 - May 17th. The Vancouver Mayor, Mr. Robertson came to our Association to proclaim that Sunday, May 17,2009 as "Shon Yee Benevolent Association Day".
2010 - July 4th. The US Point Roberts, Washington invited the Shon Yee to participate in July 4th Parade. We became the first Chinese Association ever participated outside of Canada

Shon Yee Athletic Division:

The Shon Yee Sport Division, a part of the Shon Yee Youth Group is known for its martial arts performances, sport competitions as well as various cultural events and organized events.  It was re-established in the spring of 1973, nineteen years after it was disbanded through the work of Mr. Wong Wah Jun and Mr. Lam Sam Hop.  During a General Meeting, Mr. Lum Jong Keung was elected as the first head of the sport division. 

In the winter of 1974, the President of Shon Yee, Mr. Jang Gam Hau expanded the sport division so that members of any age could participate in the club’s activities.  For the sport division’s first anniversary on May 18, 1974, members organized and performed a colorful parade in Chinatown.  The celebration included a one thousand guest banquet for the Shon Yee Association’s 60th anniversary. 

In October 1976, the sports club hosted the “Chin Suey Cantonese Opera Group” from Hong Kong.  The show took place at the Queen Elizabeth Playhouse theatre in Vancouver.  It was a sold out event and audiences praised the performance with great enthusiasm.

Three years later, the association invited martial art masters from Hong Kong, the United States and Canada to participate in the first ever Chinese Martial Arts Show in Vancouver.  The successful event showcased various types of martial arts at the Queen Elizabeth theatre to raised funds to build the Chinese Cultural Centre and restore the Chinese Benevolent Association.

In May 1984, the Shon Yee held its 70th anniversary celebration along with the sport club’s 10th anniversary.  The Association gathered more than two hundred youth to join the parade in Chinatown.  The parade attracted thousands of citizens to see the unique performance.

In August 1986, the sport club won first prize for the best float during the Pacific National Exhibition parade.  The colorful golden dragon was later filmed in a script to promote Canada in Spain’s Expo in 1992.

In May 2004, the sports club held its 30th anniversary celebration with Shon Yee’s 90th anniversary and the 16th anniversary of the Seniors Division.  The Athletic Division also participated in a Chinatown parade with more than two hundred club members.  It was an impressive display of talents. 

Since 1998, the Athletic Division has participated in the “Walk with the Dragon”, an event organized to raise funds for SUCCESS, an immigration agency that assists new immigrants to Canada.  The sports club also participates in the Chinese New Year parades, Canada Day celebration and other special occasions in our community.

Shon Yee Seniors Division:

The Shon Yee Seniors Division was established in 1989 to allow members 60 years and older to enjoy the privileges of the Shon Yee Benevolent Association.  There are no annual fees for these members.  The first chairmen were Mr. Kevin Fong and Mr. Peter Fong.  To celebrate the seniors’ birthdays, the division has a quarterly dinner banquet at a local restaurant in which all members are invited free of charge. In addition to that, the division’s treasurer will give a “Lei See” to the Birthday members.

The Seniors Division will often hold holiday tours and several meetings during the year. The division also celebrates holiday occasions along with special events and functions organized by the Association and the Sports Division.

History 歷史


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