Building awareness of local Chinese community a long-time aim for Gary Lew – by Dariya Baiguzhiyeva (Timmins Daily Press – October 1, 2021)

Gary Lew has had many opportunities to move south to be closer to his children but he and his wife Bella are reluctant to leave Timmins. “We enjoy the life, we enjoy the people here. That’s why we have a hard time moving,” he said.

“Timmins is still the best place to raise children. It’s all kinds of recreation, friendly people. I have no regrets because I’ve made lots of friends here.” Lew, 83, has been living in the area since he first arrived in South Porcupine from Hong Kong as a 12-year-old boy in January 1950.

He has been involved with the local Chinese community for decades. The Chinese community in the Timmins area likely formed in the 1930s, Lew said. Nowadays, there are a few hundred members from the surrounding communities including Cochrane, Iroquois Falls, New Liskeard and Kapuskasing.

“All my aims and objectives these years were to make awareness of our culture. So, you get to know the Chinese community and culture better,” he said. In the early 1990s, the Chinese community established scholarships for children of Chinese descent who were graduating high school with an 80 per cent average or more. They would get a $200 or $250 scholarship. The tradition is still going on.

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