National Roundtable on Saving Canada's Disappearing Chinatowns

Sunday, October 30, 2022


Jeremy Arbuthnot
Program Manager, Arts & Heritage, Canadian Heritage

Jeremy spends much of his time on the unceded, traditional territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations. Having worked for government at the federal and municipal level, Jeremy is keenly interested in how public institutions support their citizens, and how they adapt to societal change. As the manager for the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund in Alberta, British Columbia and Yukon, Jeremy works to recommend funding support for eligible not-for-profit organizations with infrastructure projects that improve access for Canadians to professional arts, culture, and heritage experiences in their communities.

Arlene Chan
Author and Chinatown Historian

Arlene Chan, author and Chinatown historian, has written seven books and contributed to numerous publications about the history, culture, and traditions of the Chinese in Canada, some shortlisted for the Silver Birch, Red Cedar, and other awards.

Arlene’s family stories and first-hand experience growing up in Chinatown are woven into her speaking engagements and Chinatown tours. She is the president of the Jean Lumb Foundation that awards high school students of Chinese heritage from across Canada. She serves as an advisor to Myseum of Toronto, Heritage interpretation Working Group for Ontario Infrastructure, and the Toronto Public Library’s Chinese Canadian Archive.


Jessica Chen
City Planning Professional

Jessica Chen is a city planning professional with over twenty years of experience in both public and non-profit sectors.  Her career focus has been about social inclusion and urban strategies that encourage pluralistic understanding of the cities.  As a Vancouver’s senior planner for the Downtown Eastside in the 2000s, Jessica oversaw long-range community planning, policy development, implementation of community projects, and liaised with inter-governmental programs such as the Vancouver Agreement.   Working with the marginalized and racialized communities for years, her work tackled issues of revitalization, gentrification, heritage conservation, affordable housing, social economy and equitable development.  After relocation to Montreal in 2013, she founded her consulting practice Wabi Sabi Planning Lab, continuing working on those issues, and advocating more specifically for community-owned equity and the connection between storytelling and placemaking.  Her project Community Housing for Resilient Communities and the initiative to launch the Jia Foundation in Montreal’s Chinatown are two recent examples.  Jessica holds a Master Degree in City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania and currently lives in Montreal, Quebec.  

Presentation Materials:

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Karen Cho
Documentary Filmmaker

Karen Cho is a Chinese-Canadian documentary filmmaker in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Her credits include the 2004 National Film Board of Canada (NFB) documentary In The Shadow Of Gold Mountain, documenting the effects of the Chinese Exclusion Act in Canada; the 2009 InformAction documentary Seeking Refuge; and the 2012 NFB documentary Status Quo? The Unfinished Business of Feminism in Canada, which was named best documentary at the Whistler Film Festival.

After graduating from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema, Cho made In The Shadow Of Gold Mountain at the NFB via a program for emerging filmmakers of colour.

Presentation Materials:


Mary Lou Doyle
Director, Cultural Heritage Policies, Parks Canada / Directrice des politiques du patrimoine culturel, Parcs Canada

Mary Lou has had the privilege to work in the establishment, protection, management and operation of heritage areas for over 20 years. Currently, Mary Lou is the Director, Cultural Heritage Polices, with the Indigenous Affairs and Cultural Heritage Directorate of Parks Canada.

Mary Lou s’est jointe à Parcs Canada en 2002 et a eu le privilège de travailler dans l’établissement, la protection, la gestion et l’exploitation d’aires patrimoniales. À l’heure actuelle, Mary Lou est directrice par intérim, Politiques du patrimoine culturel, à la Direction des affaires autochtones et du patrimoine culturel de Parcs Canada.

Ben Lee
President of the Winnipeg Chinese Cultural and Community Centre

Ben Lee, President of the Winnipeg Chinese Cultural and Community Centre, is a results-oriented leader with proven success in leading organizations to meet or exceed growth objectives. He has a broad and diverse record of leadership both in business and volunteerism/community service and experience implementing major projects in the manufacturing, aviation, healthcare and life sciences sectors. He is a strong believer in giving back and dedicating my time to serve on numerous boards and committees in the community.

Ben is currently on the leadership team at Stantec in the Heart of Winnipeg’s downtown. Stantec is in the Top 10 largest design firms in the world, with a significant presence in downtown Winnipeg.

He brings to local community efforts an immense national and international experience developed through a professional career as an accomplished leader. He strives to approach every day with integrity and warmth.

Presentation Materials:

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Carol Lee
Chair and co-founder of the Vancouver Chinatown Foundation

Carol Anne Lee is chair and co-founder of the Vancouver Chinatown Foundation, a registered charity that was founded in 2012. The Foundation is dedicated to building a more resilient and inclusive community while preserving its irreplaceable cultural heritage. Ongoing projects include affordable housing, seniors housing, and cultural and economic development.

She serves on several other boards and organizations including UBC Properties Trust, the Harvard Business School Canadian Advisory Board, the BC Achievement Foundation, and the Rideau Hall Foundation where she is chair of its Innovation Committee. She is also the co-chair of the John McArthur Distinguished Fellowship at the Asia Pacific Foundation. She has received honorary degrees from UBC and BCIT and is the recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Stephanie Leo

Stephanie is 3rd generation Chinese-Canadian. Having grown up in a multi-generational home in East Vancouver, she identifies closely with her family’s Toisan heritage and language.
Stephanie has been a member of the City of Vancouver’s Legacy Stewardship Group since 2018 and is the current co-chair. Over the last 4 years Stephanie has engaged with Chinatown
residents, businesses, and other community stakeholders, toward a common goal of safe-guarding the culture and heritage of Vancouver’s Chinatown, and supporting its vulnerable
living community. This collaboration has culminated in the revival of the Fire Dragon Festival and support for many LSG projects now captured within the city’s Cultural Heritage Asset
Management Plan. Her vision for the LSG is that it will continue to contribute to creating a resilient and welcoming neighbourhood that will foster rich connections between the Chinatown
of her grandparents and great-grandparents, and the Chinatown she will leave for her own 3 kids.

Jackie Liu
Chief Impact Officer of Homeward Trust

Jackie Liu spends his days as the Chief Impact Officer of Homeward Trust, a non-profit systems planner that funds and coordinates the development of new housing units for individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. He is passionate about addressing the impacts of systemic barriers of marginalization, and taking an evidence-based and trauma-informed approach to both his day job and his service to the community. As one of the relatively few Asian-Canadians actively working in the non-profit social sector, Jackie hopes to provide a unique perspective and foster relationships between modern-day Chinatown and all who share the traditional lands within Treaty Six Territory.

Presentation Materials:

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The Honourable Mary Ng
Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade

The Honourable Mary Ng was elected as Member of Parliament for Markham–Thornhill in April 2017. She is the Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade.

Minister Ng is a devoted community leader who has always believed in the power of public service. She has 20 years of experience in the areas of education, women’s leadership, job creation, and entrepreneurship. She is the second Chinese Canadian woman to serve in cabinet (after Alice Wong who served as Minister for Seniors from 2011-2015) and third Asian Canadian woman to serve in cabinet (after Bev Oda and Alice Wong).

Minister Ng immigrated to Canada from Hong Kong with her family, and grew up learning about the struggle and eventual success that many new immigrants experience in Canada. Her years working for the Ontario Public Service, Ryerson University, and the Ontario Ministry of Education led to her being recognized as one of Canada’s top-performing public sector leaders. She later served as Director of Appointments for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Patti Pon
Calgary Arts Development President & CEO 

Patti Pon is a veteran community and arts champion with an extensive track record of leadership and service in Calgary and beyond.

Patti has deep and diverse experience in the arts sector, having served in senior leadership positions at the EPCOR CENTRE for the Performing Arts (now Arts Commons), Alberta Performing Arts Stabilization Fund, and Alberta Theatre Projects, among others. She has been President & CEO of Calgary Arts Development since 2013 and led the organization through the process of doubling its budget in 2019.

In the community, she just completed her full term on the board of The Calgary Foundation, serves as a board member with Toronto based Agora Foundation (publisher of the online journal The Philanthropist,) and recently was elected as the first woman of colour to the board of the Calgary Stampede. She was a founding board member of the Asian Heritage Foundation (Southern Alberta) and served on the steering committee for imagineCalgary as well as on the Board Chair of Canada’s oldest public radio station, CKUA Radio Network. She also served as a board member for the Calgary Bid Exploration Committee and related entities who explored the potential for Calgary to submit a bid for the 2026 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Patti has been awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and was the 2013 Harry and Martha Cohen Award, recognizing significant contribution to Calgary’s theatre community.

Dr. Matt Patterson
Associate Professor in Sociology, University of Calgary

Matt Patterson is an associate professor in sociology at the University of Calgary. His research examines the relationship between cities and culture. In particular, he is interested in uncovering the ways that place characteristics such as density, demographics, and urban design influence the emergence of distinct cultural practices, products, and institutions. He has pursued this research through studies of museum development, the emergence of arts districts, and the economic and social impacts of iconic architectural projects or “starchitecture”. Currently his main focus is on the role of cultural planning and placemaking projects within North American Chinatowns.

The Honourable Amarjeet Sohi
Mayor of Edmonton

Amarjeet Sohi was sworn in as the 36th mayor of Edmonton on October 26, 2021. Amarjeet moved to Edmonton forty years ago. He learned to speak English and found friendship through schools, public libraries and performing arts theatres in our city. He worked for ETS as a bus driver and eventually his bus stopped at City Hall when Edmonton took a chance on him as a city councillor. His passion for Edmonton took him all the way to Ottawa where he served as the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, and the Minister of Natural Resources, overseeing billions in investments in our economic future. He is so proud to be Edmonton’s Mayor and looks forward to building an Edmonton for all of us.

Chiyi Tam
Urban Planner

Chiyi is an urban planner and anti-gentrification organizer raised in Vancouver, on unceded Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) and Səl̓ílwətaʔ (Tsleil-Waututh) lands and waters, in the translation between places and culture.

She is currently the executive director of the Kensington Market Community Land Trust. She also organizes with the Toronto Chinatown Land Trust, which is also exploring community ownership as an anti-displacement strategy for racial & economic justice in Toronto’s Chinatowns.

She frequently consults with groups regarding social enterprise legislation, governance and cooperative strategies. She aims to reciprocate knowledge into community.

Presentation Materials:

Andy Vu
Urban Planner

Andy is an urban planner from Quebec that has helped the Chinatown Working Group for the past 2 years with his extensive knowledge of the municipal world. He is currently a co-coordinator for the implementation the Montreal’s Chinatown Roundtable and oversees the 2021-2026 Chinatown Action plan with the city officials.

Terry Wong 黃健磊

Terry Wong is a second-generation Chinese Canadian with humble beginnings in Vancouver, BC. He credits his strong work ethic to his parents who operated small businesses in Vancouver’s Chinatown; this experience also informed deep connection to his cultural roots and passion for building inclusive communities through opportunities for learning, as opposed to erasing, history. Terry has more than 30-years of experience managing various departments at The City of Calgary, prior to assuming the role of a Board director, and eventually the Executive Director, of Calgary’s Chinatown Business Improvement Area. In 2021, Terry successfully ran for Ward 7 City Councillor and continues to advocate for equitable community development.

Albert Wong
Citizenship Judge

Albert was appointed Citizenship Judge by the Government of Canada in June 2014. As an independent decision-maker, Judge Wong conducts hearings and presides over citizenship ceremonies in the Greater Toronto Area.

Judge Wong had over thirty-nine years of service in the Canadian Armed Forces. He served in various public affairs positions with the military across Canada; on a UN peacekeeping mission in Eritrea and Ethiopia; with a multi-national headquarters in Copenhagen, Denmark; and with a Strategic Advisory Team in Afghanistan. He attained the rank of Lieutenant Commander.
He also served as the Chief Aide-de-Camp to the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario from April 2013 to December 2020. He was awarded the Vice-Regal commendation in 2014.
Judge Wong is a 2012 recipient of the Chinese Canadian Legend Award, the 2015 Transformation Award for Public Service, the 2015 NAAAP 100 Award by the North American Association of Asian Professionals, and the 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award by the Cambridge Food & Wine Society.

He was named the 2016 Person of the Year by the Transformation Magazine.
Born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Judge Wong emigrated to Canada in 1971.
An active community volunteer, Albert has made valuable leadership contribution to several organizations including as Chair of the Mississauga Board of Chinese Professionals and Businesses (CPB) and currently supports various other community boards and organizations.

Teresa Woo-Paw
Chair of Action, Chinese Canadians Together

Teresa is a tireless advocate for diversity, social inclusion and active civic participation. She is known for her ability in bringing diverse people together to joint efforts, break new grounds and create bigger impacts in society.

She is the first Canadian woman of Asian descent elected to the Calgary Board of Education (1995-2000), the Alberta Legislature and Cabinet Minister in Alberta (2008-2015).

Teresa holds a bachelor of arts degree in social work from the University of Calgary. She founded and built eight non-profit entities over a span of 40 plus years including the ACCT Foundation & Asian Canadians Together-ACT2EndRacism National Network; Asian Heritage Foundation, the Ethnocultural Council of Calgary (Action Dignity) and the Calgary Chinese Community Service Association. She has worked with almost 100 organizations in Canada.

Teresa received appointment as the Chair of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation by the Governor in Council in 2018 and is currently Chair of ACCT Foundation and created the Inspire to Lead Leaders’ Summit and the Aspire to Act Leadership Training Program; Convener of ACT2EndRacism Network; Co-Chair of Asian Heritage Foundation; Board member of Calgary Arts Foundation; City of Calgary-Tomorrow’s Chinatown and Lougheed House Advisory Committees.

Teresa loves the arts, gardening, travelling and spending time with her grandchildren.


  • Chinese Canadian Legend 2016
  • YWCA Women of Distinction Award, 1998
  • Immigrants of Distinction Award, 1998
  • Queen Elizabeth’s 60th Jubilee Award, 2012
  • Queen’s Jubilee Award – Multiculturalism & Community Services 2002
  • Alberta Centennial Medal & Medallion, 2005
  • Canada 125th Commemorative Award for Community Services