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Chan Yu Tan
Photo of 50th anniversary reunion at Chinese United Church on Fisgard Street. Chan Yu Tan is fourth from left. His brother, Chan Sing Kai is fifth from left. (Photo courtesy of 1st Metropolitan United Church Archives).
The Reverend Chan Yu Tan with his wife, Wong Chiu Lin, came to Canada in 1898, stopping in Victoria where his brother, Chan Sing Kai, had become minister. He then proceeded to Vancouver where he took up the pastorship for ten years. He then moved to Victoria where he took on responsibility for the Chinese Methodist church on Fisgard Street.
Born in Guangzhou in 1863, Chan Yu Tan had continued to work in the Wesleyan mission school in Hong Kong after his elder brother left for Canada. Chan Yu Tan then followed in his brother’s footsteps and left Hong Kong for Canada to take up missionary work here.
He arrived at a difficult time for the Chinese Christian churches. According to Jiwu Wang, racist anti-Asian campaigns in the province drove many away from the church, associating the missions with white power.
Statue for 2008 award. (Photo courtesy of Victor E. Wong).
Chan Yu Tan served at Victoria’s Chinese Methodist Church from 1909 until 1912. He went on to serve as pastor in Nanaimo with responsibility for other communities on Vancouver Island.
In 2008, the Victoria Chinese Commerce Association awarded Chan Yu Tan a Golden Mountain Achievement Award, Lifetime Cultural or Multicultural”. For a short video produced at the time, click here.
By John Price
Chinese United Church. A Hundred Years of Christian Chinese Work in British Columbia, 1859-1959. Vancouver. United Church of Canada, 1959.
S.S. Osterhout. Orientals in Canada. Toronto: Board of Home Missions, United Church of Canada, 1929.
Jiwu Wang. ‘His Dominion’ and the ‘Yellow Peril’. Waterloo. Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2006.
The Times-Colonist article “Chan brothers spread Gospel,” 3 August, 2008 at http://www.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/story.html?id=3eb779f2-f294-...