- Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association
- Victoria Chinese Canadian Veterans Association
- Chinese Public School
- Clan Associations
- County Assocations
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- Recreational Associations
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- Prominent Visitors
- Local Leaders
A Victoria-Born Chinese in Local Business and Chinese Politics
Lim Bang was born in Victoria, BC, in 1884 to mother Tang Shuen (or Tong Shee) and father Lim Dat (or Lim Dar Chor), a general merchant. In 1898, Lim Bang and his brother Lim Yet were among the first Chinese pupils to attend Victoria public schools. Unfortunately their admission to public schools was unacceptable to some parents of other students, who protested to the School Board, resulting in the establishment of separate classes for Chinese-Canadian students. When a renewed call for segregation occurred in 1907-1908, Lim was instrumental in having the new Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association building constructed with space for a Chinese public school. He was also a member of the Chinese Public School Board into the 1950s
Interior of Lim Bang's family business, Gim Fuk Yuen Company, ca. 1895. Lim Bang is third from right (City of Victoria Archives, M08947).
Lim Bang and employees of the Victoria Chinese Branch of the Bank of Vancouver, 1940s (City of Victoria Archives, M01082).
Lim Bang married Lim Ng Shee in 1903 and they had four children. The Lim family lived outside of Chinatown in neighbourhoods that were primarily white and Anglophone: first on Blanshard near Chatham then on Queens Street between Quadra and Cook Streets. As the owner of one of the first automobiles in British Columbia, Lim could easily travel from his home to Chinatown and his business operations.
Lim Bang was the first owner of this hotel on Douglas Street, photographed soon after it was constructed in 1911. This building was called the Prince George Hotel, the Douglas Hotel, and in 2007 it was renamed the Hotel Rialto (City of Victoria Archives, M06881).
The longest building in Chinatown, the Lim Bang Building, completed in 1910 and still standing between Herald and Chatham streets (Royal BC Museum, BC Archives, I-20608).
Lim Bang had a successful career as a businessman. He worked in his family’s merchandise store, called Gim Fook Yuen, sold wood, and operated greenhouses. He also owned a brickyard, the Sidney Brick and Tile Company, at Bazan Bay from about 1907 to 1915. He used these bricks in the construction of at least two buildings that still stand in downtown Victoria. He and his brother and other merchants invested in the longest building in Chinatown on Government Street, the Lim Bang Building between Herald and Chatham in 1910. This building is constructed in three sections to account for the sloping site. It is characterized by arched windows and recessed balconies. Lim Bang also built the hotel at 1450 Douglas Street across Pandora from City Hall. This five-storey Commercial Style hotel, constructed in 1911, provided accommodation to tourists and seasonal workers such as loggers and fishermen. This hotel was called the Prince George Hotel, the Douglas Hotel, and it has been recently renovated and renamed the Hotel Rialto.
Lim Bang and friends in tennis whites, 1915. Lim Bang is seated on the front row left. Lee Mong Kow is seated in the middle of the back row (City of Victoria Archives, M01076).
Starting from 1910, Lim was manager of the Chinese Department of the Victoria branch of the Bank of Vancouver. When Sun Yat-sen, the father of modern China, visited Victoria in early 1911 to promote his ideas for a revolution against the Manchu court in Qing China, Lim helped Sun raise funds from the local Chinese Freemasons and he and two other Victoria businessmen also pledged $1600.
As a Victoria-born Chinese Canadian, Lim Bang suffered from discrimination in the Victoria school system and later supported the education of Chinese Canadian students. A versatile entrepreneur, Lim owned a variety of businesses. With bricks from his own brick works in Sidney, Lim constructed grand structures that continue to define the Victoria streetscape a century after they were built. Not satisfied with making a difference to the local community, Lim also played a significant role in the revolutionary politics of China. In 1973, the city of Victoria bestowed on Lim an honorary citizenship.
Lim Bang and members of the Chinese Public School Board in the 1950s. Lim Bang is seated in the front (City of Victoria Archives, M01081).
Canada’s Historic Places, “Hotel Douglas,” http://www.historicplaces.ca/en/rep-reg/place-lieu.aspx?id=1486 (accessed 12 August 2012).
Chandler, Cliff. “Another Brick in the Wall: Victoria Area Brick Makers, 1850-1950.” Victoria Historical Society Publication, Spring 2008, 3-5.
Hotel Rialto, “Our History,” http://www.hotelrialto.ca/index.php/our-history (accessed 12 August 2012).
Lai, David Chuenyan. The Forbidden City within Victoria: Myth, Symbol and Streetscape of Canada’s Earliest Chinatown. Victoria, BC: Orca Book Publishers, 1991.
Secrets of the City: Self-Guided Walking Tour of Victoria, http://www.victoria.ca/assets/Community/Documents/walking-tour-forbidden... (accessed 11 August 2012).
Stanley, Timothy J. Contesting White Supremacy: School Segregation, Anti-Racism, and the Making of Chinese Canadians (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2011).
Victoria Times, December 9, 1974.
Wickberg, Edgar et al ed. From China to Canada: A History of the Chinese Communities in Canada. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1982.