A GOLDEN PIONEER The Golden Star January, 1986 Written by Duane Crandall.

You have often seen him walking along Golden’s sidewalks, but you haven’t ever given him much thought. Just an old man walking along as old men often do. His steps are slower now. but his eyes have seen more progress and more of life then most of us will ever know. His story is one of struggle, of separation from family, and finally of contentment of his retirement years. 

He is Shue Dang, the seventy-six year old patriarch of the Dang family of Golden. The Shue Dang story starts in Canton Province. China, in 1909. He was the son of Sam Tuie. who would leave the Chinese homeland three or four years later to emigrate to far-off Canada and a little mountain town called Golden.

Shue stayed in China for his first thirteen years, being raised by his mother, and attending school for three or four years. He then followed his father across the Pacific, coming to Golden in 1922. It was a young age to leave home and undertake a journey half way around the world to a new country with different language, different climate and different culture.

He was met in Golden by his father who was then operating the Sam Tuie Laundry on the site where TAKS Home Furnishers store was located until the recent fire.

Like his father, who had come in about 1912, and like most Orientals who came to Canada in those early years, immigrating was much more difficult than it was for non-Orientals. In addition to all the paperwork there was also a $500 “head tax” on each Oriental who immigrated into Canada. Without exaggerating, that could be the equivalent of a whole year’s salary for a man in that era. When Shue arrived in Golden he wanted to go to school, so he went to Athalmer where he stayed with an aunt and attended school for two years, learning English in the process.

At age fifteen it was off to Vancouver where Shue worked for two years at a private boarding school cafeteria. He waited tables the first year and served as an apprentice cook the second, a training that prepared Shue for his life’s work.

In 1926, after four years in Canada. Shue made the first of two trips back to China. It was on that trip, at the tender age of seventeen, that he took the plunge and got married. His wife was highly recommended by his mother and other relatives and the advice must have been sound, because the marriage lasted for 59 years. Mrs. Dang passed away last year. 

The first thirty years of the marriage, however, was mostly a correspondence marriage, because Shue returned to Canada six or seven months after the wedding.

Except for a second trip home in 1932, again for about six months, he never saw his wife on a permanent basis until she came to Golden in 1956. During the separated years the relationship subsisted on letters which were received “about every second month”.A daughter was born to Mr. and Mrs. Dang in 1927, after Shue had returned to Canada. Shue saw her on his six-month visit in 1932 when she was five, but that was to be the last visit between Shue and his daughter, since she was married and her own family kept her in the Orient when the rest of the family came to Canada in the 1950’s. She now lives in Hong Kong.  

On his return to Canada in 1926 Shue spent 6 months in Calgary, after which he returned to Golden, and with partnered Moon Ung, started and operated the Sunrise Cafe for eighteen years, along with the Canadian Grocery for eleven of those years.

After the sale of the Sunrise Cafe to Fred Feuz, it was off to the logging camps in Canal Flats for fourteen years.

It was during this lime, in 1955. when Shue first saw his son Wing, when Wing had been born in 1933, after Shue’s second visit home, but Wing would be nearly twenty-two years old before father and son would meet.

When asked what he felt when Wing arrived, Shue, who is now getting a little hard of hearing, lit up with a ready smile “That was all right!”. In characteristic fashion, he didn’t have many words to describe it. but his smile beamed with pride and joy as he recollected the memory.

Shue left logging camp work in 1960. He and Wing then spent two years travelling around BC and Alberta and Saskatchewan looking for business opportunities. But it turned out that, in their minds, “there was no small town like Golden”, so they returned and in 1962 they built the Elite Cafe, which Wing and his family still operate.

Shue retired in 1982 after a working life of 58 years he has thoroughly enjoyed Canada and Golden. He has always found the people friendly and says that Canada was “much better” than China.

With that thought he was referring primarily to jobs and opportunities, but you get the impression that he found Canada better in every way for he has no bad words to say about his adopted land.

Shue Dang is one of thousands of Chinese people who came to Canada and, while obtaining opportunities for themselves, also helped their new country to grow and prosper. He and they deserve, and have earned, an honoured place in our history.

The Kamloops Chinese Cultural Association of Kamloops, BC 

wishes to thank the Dang Family of Golden, British Columbia, for their great help in providing pictures and written pages of their Family History in Canada. We also must thank them for allowing us to make a video presentation of their recollections of their history. It is truly a great adventure for a person from a country so far away to come to Canada and learn the language, learn how to find work, learn how to run a business in Canada, and all other things that are involved in raising a family in a new country.