Vietnamese Canadian Experiences in BC

Vietnamese Canadian Experiences in BC

From the Learning Portal

How did hundreds of thousands of people escape their homeland after the end of the war in Vietnam? Chrystal Phan writes about the conditions that caused people to risk their lives to flee Vietnam in the 1970s and ’80s.

Read the story of Hannah, an eight-year-old girl who leaves Vietnam and arrives in Canada with her father and brother. Educators see “History in Perspective” in the Teach section of this pathway for a lesson plan to go with this story.

Chrystal Phan writes about what newspaper articles can tell us about how British Columbians felt about Southeast Asian refugees when so many were arriving in the 1970s and ’80s. To learn more about British Columbian responses at the time, see an excerpt from an episode of Webster!, a television call-in show, in the Watch section of this pathway.

On April 30, 1975, the war in Vietnam officially ended. In Canada, it is now known as Journey to Freedom Day to commemorate the lives lost and suffering endured by the estimated 800,000 to one million people who fled Vietnam after 1975. Chrystal Phan takes a look at how Vietnamese Canadian refugees commemorate the day their lives changed forever

Decades after arriving in Canada, Vietnamese refugees make their mark in the streets of Vancouver. Chrystal Phan writes about Little Saigon in Vancouver, BC.

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In 1979, the Skyluck carried 2,700 refugees fleeing Vietnam into the Hong Kong harbour, where they were forced to remain on board for more than four months. Andrew Nguyen and his family were among them. Forty years later, his mother’s journals reveal their story. This project was created by Andrew Nguyen for CBC First Person.

A family escapes persecution in Vietnam, travelling by boat to a Malaysian refugee camp before finding a new home in Montreal. This Heritage Minutes short film was produced by Historica Canada, whose mission is to help Canadians explore, learn, reflect on our history and consider what it means to be Canadian.

Freedom Day is one of only a few special days that are officially designated by the Canadian government. Sen. Thanh Hai Ngo, the first Vietnamese Canadian senator, introduced Bill S-219 to the Senate in 2014. The bill passed a year later as the Journey to Freedom Day Act.

The Canadian Immigration Historical Society is an organization that develops and promotes interest in Canadian immigration, refugee matters and history. Because this era of immigration involves not only the Vietnamese, the historical documents on this website use the term Indochina or Indochinese. These are old colonial terms to identify Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia as a geographic region.

The Hearts of Freedom project films Vietnamese refugees (as well as Laotian and Cambodian refugees) as they share their experience with the public. Scroll through archival photos and watch Tinh Bui retell his harrowing journey to freedom here. You can also hear about Tinh Bui’s life in British Columbia in the Listen section of this pathway.