Heritage Toronto’s first plaque unveiling of 2015 honours Chinese-Canadian association
Heritage Toronto will unveil a plaque to commemorate the Wong Association of Ontario (Wong Kung Har Wun Sun Association). The Wongs have been part of the historic fabric of Toronto and Chinatown for over 100 years and the Wong Association of Ontario is the first Chinese-Canadian family association to receive a coat of arms. The plaque will be unveiled by The Wong Association of Ontario, Scotiabank and Heritage Toronto.
The unveiling will begin at 11:00am on Thursday, February 19, 2015 (Chinese New Year’s Day) outside of 303 Spadina Avenue. There will be other festivities in addition to the unveiling, such as a traditional Lion Dance. No RSVP is required for the general public.
The Wong Association of Ontario traces its origins to 1912 and the establishment of Wong Kung Har Tong, one of the oldest Chinese family associations in Canada. Chinese family associations, such as the Wong Association of Ontario, were essential to the lives of early Chinese immigrants who were looking to establish a life in Toronto. The Wong Association of Ontario provided early Chinese immigrants with a place to socialize and obtain immigration, employment, housing, and financial services. A vital function of Chinese family associations was providing loans to Chinese immigrants who sought to purchase land or open a business.
During the years of the Chinese Immigration Act (1923-1957), which prohibited Chinese people from immigrating to Canada, the membership of Wong Kung Har Tong declined. In 1956 Wong Hung Kar Tong joined with Wong Wun Sun Association (founded in 1930) to form the Wong Association of Ontario. The Wong Association of Ontario moved to their current location at 301-303 Spadina Avenue in 1988 which, in recent years, has served as a gathering place where members can partake in physical, social and academic activities. In 2011, the Wong Association of Ontario was the first Chinese-Canadian family association in Canada to receive a coat of arms from the Canadian Heraldic Authority.