Faye Leung: The Hat Lady Sings!
The Faye & Dean Chun Kwong Leung Story
Faye Leung patriotically devoted most of her life to public service which has greatly benefited the people, cities, provinces and the cultural heritage of Canada.
As far back as the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway Chinese immigrants to Canada have been the victims of harsh discrimination. If at present they are treated fairly it is largely because of the work done by Faye and Dean Leung. She and her husband, Dean, achieved many remarkable victories in this struggle for equal and fair treatment. The extraordinary thing about them is that they achieved these victories with no thought at all about financial rewards. They considered it an honour to work for their people. The Leungs’ work has done much to foster better understanding and cooperation between Canada, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Mainland China. This has resulted in billions of dollars of investment money pouring into Canada.
Strangely enough, Faye’s efforts to help women and ethnic minorities have gone largely unnoticed in Canada. With China the situation is different: they have bestowed upon her the title of Ambassador-at-large for the Chinese. It remains to be seen if she will be granted substantial recognition by the Canadian and British Columbia governments.
Faye is a third-generation Canadian of Chinese origin. Her formative years were spent in the Chinatowns of Victoria and Vancouver.
She first burst onto the scene in 1947 when she helped Chinese immigrants by translating and interpreting their documents to apply for Canadian citizenship. In the early 1950s, she challenged discrimination in the workplace by becoming the first Chinese Canadian to be hired by the Hudson Bay Company. Over the next four decades, she helped bring about societal change in immigration, banking, housing, education, trade with the Orient, and race and gender discrimination.
Faye’s efforts did much to change and liberalize Canadian immigration policy. In 1965 she convinced the Federal Liberal government to offer, for the first time, citizenship to professionals, businessmen and skilled labourers. As a result, Canada received a huge cohort of highly skilled immigrants. The future Lieutenant Governor, David Lam, (along with his wife Dorothy), were two of them. A few years later her immigration policies opened up even more new categories of citizenship: nannies, caregivers, home care specialists, and nurses. In the 1970s she helped add two further categories: investors and entrepreneurs.
It was thanks to Faye’s efforts that banking hours in Canada were extended. She also stimulated trade between Hong Kong and Canada by introducing the first Canadian trust company into Hong Kong to do business. This was just one of many things she did to establish a wide network of business and social connections between Vancouver and the Far East.
In the 1960s she was the driving force behind the Strata Titles Act (the future Condominium Act) which made it legal for attached houses to be built and sold individually. Prior to the Strata Titles Act houses needed to be a certain number of feet away on all four sides from the property boundary lines. The Strata Title Act did away with this requirement and houses could use the same walls ie: as in condominiums.
Faye was one of the first women members of the Vancouver Board of Trade. She also became the first Chinese-Canadian to sit on the boards of the Vancouver Opera and the Siwash Association, aka Endeavour. This paved the way for others to follow. As usual, she was a pioneer.
Big development came to Vancouver’s Chinatown in the 1970s when Faye spearheaded the construction of the huge Mandarin Trade Center with her own funds. It was the first major development in Chinatown and influenced other development afterwards. For the first time, Chinatown had a dine and dance venue that accommodated large gatherings without them having to be split up into two or three smaller venues. She used the Mandarin to bring together Caucasian and Chinese societies for the first time in Vancouver.
Following the collapse of the Cultural Revolution Faye was the first Canadian businesswoman to be invited to the People’s Republic of China. Over the years since then, she has travelled to China many times and sparked millions of dollars in trade between Canada and China, especially in economic development, trade and tourism. She has appeared many times on nation-wide television in China.
In the early 1990s British Columbia Social Credit leader, Bill Vander Zalm, was forced to resign. He used his public office to sell his Fantasy Gardens World which was deemed a direct conflict of interest by Ted Hughes who Vander Zalm himself appointed to look into the sale. Faye was the realtor in charge. Later, he was charged by the RCMP and went to trial. Faye became the Crown’s star witness.
In commenting on these shenanigans the media cast unfair aspersions on Faye. In this book, we give only a short overview of Faye’s side of the story. However, in her second book which is entirely on the scandal, the purpose is to put the record straight. I think she deserves to have a venue to explain what happened and her part in it. She certainly was not listened to by the media back in the days of the Vander Zalm scandal. Faye (and her husband) deserve better than this.
Over the past two decades, Faye has been invited to China many times and she has gone usually bringing along lots of economic development opportunities as well as a friend or two wanting to promote their business in China. She is always treated like the VIP she is and given a chauffeur-driven limousine. It seems she has found a home away from home where her special talents and accomplishments are appreciated. She has been showered with many gifts and awards as well. Maybe one day the Canadian government will honour her in the same way and show their appreciation for all she has done for Canada.
Both Faye and Dean contributed so much to Canada and Canada’s oriental connections. They also improved the life and living conditions of countless immigrants because the changes they helped cause to be implemented apply not just to immigrants of Chinese origin, they apply to all immigrant groups. With her high intellect, business acumen and bubbly personality Faye Leung (and her husband) changed the face of Canadian society, both in Canada and in the Orient.
Due Date: September 2018
400 pp, Hard Cover
P/N To order a copy please leave a message below. This will be a limited print run so it would be best to pre-order to be sure to get a copy.
*To see Faye’s new interactive website please click on the link below. Once on the site, use the scroll down index on the right to view the different years.