Mon Keang School Made National Historic Site

Mon Keang School Made National Historic Site

Parks Canada has designated Chinatown’s own Mon Keang School a National Historic Site. Opened in 1925 on the top floor of the Wong Kung Har Tong (one of Vancouver’s two Wong family associations that merged in 1970 to form the Wongs’ Benevolent Association of Vancouver), Mon Keang is Vancouver’s oldest Chinese school to still survive in its original location. Originally on the top floor at 123A East Pender, the school expanded in 1947 to include the third floor, which had previously been home to C.K. Chop Suey, a restaurant owned by Charlie Ting. C.K. Chop Suey was threatened with closure in 1938 for employing a white woman, which was covered by the Vancouver Sun on August 16 of that year.

From the Minister responsible for Parks Canada, Steven Guilbeault:

“The designation of the Mon Keang School as a national historic site highlights the important services provided by Chinese associations in Canada and the role of schools in teaching Chinese culture and language. That this school’s origins came during a time of intense anti‑Chinese racism is a testament to the strength and determination of Chinese Canadian communities.”

While Mon Keang didn’t win with its recent entry into the National Trust for Canada’s Next Great Save contest, this designation by Parks Canada is a welcome recognition of Chinese Canadian history and heritage and the importance of sits like Mon Keang in Chinatown and beyond. If you or your family have memories of Mon Keang, help us in our mission to share and preserve Chinatown’s stories by submitting them for publication!

Click here for the original news release.