- Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association
- Victoria Chinese Canadian Veterans Association
- Chinese Public School
- Clan Associations
- County Assocations
- Dialect Assocations
- Friendship Associations
- Political Organizations
- Recreational Associations
- Religious Organizations
- Women's Associations
- Other Organizations
- Prominent Visitors
- Local Leaders
The Lee’s Benevolent Association building at 614 Fisgard Street was designed by architect C. Elwood Watkins in 1911. There are shops on the first floor, offices on the second floor and the Lee Association’s meeting hall is on the third floor behind the balcony, which is fronted by columns and arches. At one point, the Nationalist League occupied the second floor of this building (Photo by Robert Amos, 2008).
Lee Tin Suk was a Victoria merchant and founding member of the Lee Association (Photo by Robert Amos).
The Lee Association is a clan association for individuals with the surname Lee. This clan traces its roots to the ancient Chinese philosopher Laozi (or Lao-tsu) the founder of Taoism. Lees had arrived in British Columbia since the late 1850s and had organized as a clan association in Victoria since the 1880s. The purpose of this clan association was to care for members who were sick or elderly, help resolve disputes, promote the welfare of members and help members adjust to Canadian society. Lees were instrumental in forming the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association in 1884.
In 1909, with funds raised from members of the Lee clan, Lee Mong Kow, Lee Dan, Lee Dye and Lee Wing Yew purchased property for a meeting hall at 612-614 Fisgard Street on behalf of Lee Long Sai Tong, which then built two adjacent brick buildings in 1911. The association sold the western building in 1920, and in 1935 that building was bought by the Shon Yee Benevolent Association. The Lees kept the eastern building at 614 Fisgard, which had commercial space on the ground floor, offices on the second floor and the meeting hall on the third floor. In 1931, Lee Long Sai Tong merged with Li Dunzong Gongsuo, to become the Lee’s Benevolent Association (Lishi Gongsuo).
In the early twenty-first century, the Lee Association in Victoria still maintains its meeting hall at 614 Fisgard Street and has a membership of about 300. The Lee Association celebrates five festivals including Laozi’s birthday, the Duanwu (early summer) Festival, the Mid-Autumn Festival, Christmas, and the Chinese New Year or the Spring Festival. The association’s meeting room offers members a place to enjoy a game of mahjong, sing karaoke or play table tennis.
Interview by Chen and Yang
A portrait of Laozi (Lao-tsu), the ancestor of the Lees, sits above the carved wooden altar table in the Lee Association meeting hall (Photo by Charles Yang, 2011).
The portrait of philosopher Laozi (Lao-tsu), the founder of Taoism and the ancestor of the Lee clan (Photo by Robert Amos, 2005).
This wooden table, inlaid with mother of pearl was presented to the Lee Lung Sai Tong in about 1885 by fifteen members of the Lee clan. This table is placed under the main altar table (Photo by Robert Amos).
Calligraphy by Li Zongren, acting President of the Republic of China, January 1949 to March 1950, located in the meeting hall of the Lee Association. This writing states, “Befriend your fellow clansmen and respect your ancestry” (Photo by Charles Yang, 2011).
The meeting hall of the Lee Association facing the balcony door to the south (Photo by Charles Yang, 2011).
This Chinese brocade hangs above the balcony door in the Lee Association’s meeting hall (Photo by Charles Yang, 2011).
This document confirms that "The Lee Benevolent Association" was incorporated as a society in Victoria on 14 June 1916 (BC Registry Services, Society files no. S452).
This document primarily explains the purposes of the Lee Association, which include supporting sick or elderly members financially, mediating disputes among members, informing members about provincial and national laws, and promoting mental and physical health among members (BC Registry Services, Society files no. S452).
This document explains the by-laws of the Lee Association in relation to organizing meetings, membership, the board of directors, the roles of the president and secretary, and association finances (BC Registry Services, Society files no. S452).
This document shows how the Lee Association revised its original purposes in 1985 to support the participation of association members in Canadian society and recognize members' rights and responsibilities as Canadian citizens (BC Registry Services, Society files no. S452).
This document confirms that the Lee Society has altered its official purposes under the Society Act on 16 December 1985. The new purposes include supporting the participation of association members in Canadian society, fundraising, and purchasing property to support the Society's activities (BC Registry Services, Society files no. S452).
Amos, Robert and Kileasa Wong. Inside Chinatown: Ancient Culture in a New World. Victoria: TouchWood Editions, 2009.
Lai, David Chuenyan. Chinese Community Leadership: Case Study of Victoria in Canada. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing Co., 2010.
Lai, David Chuenyan. The Forbidden City within Victoria: Myth, Symbol and Streetscape of Canada’s Earliest Chinatown. Victoria, BC: Orca Book Publishers, 1991.