Teresa Woo-Paw

Country of Origin:

Hong Kong


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Teresa came to Canada with her family for education, and to reunite with her extended family. In this clip she remembers important events in her life, like meeting her Grandfather for the first time.


My name is Teresa Woo-Paw from Calgary, Alberta. I came from Hong Kong in 1972, and the reason we came was for, I think… there were two main reasons. One, for the education and the future for myself, and my brother and two sisters. And the second equally important reason that we immigrated to Canada was for the family reunification. We have actually four generations of our family from both paternal and maternal side that have lived in Canada. And my father and all of us in our immediate family met my paternal grandfather for the first time at the Calgary airport in 1972. So my father met his father for the first time in Canada at the age of forty-one, and that was very important for us.

I think the three really notable events in my… I guess over thirty years of living in Canada. The first one was the reunification with my grandfather - that we were able to see my grandfather in Canada. That was very significant for us because of the forty-year separation between my father and my grandfather. And secondly, it was in 1978 when our family of six had our citizenship interview. Judge Sinclair said to us… well, what he said to us left me a very deep impression. He essentially explained what multiculturalism means, and he encouraged us that at the same time we were Canadian citizens, and actively participate in Canadian society, that we should continue to retain our own cultural heritage. So he was saying that we could be Canadian citizens and be Chinese at the same time. And that was very significant. I think that left a deep impression on me, and part of what I did subsequently was I spent [two] decades of my time promoting cross-cultural understanding and multiculturalism, through organizing multicultural programmes, and bringing different cultural groups together to work collaboratively to find solutions to common problems and concerns.

And the other event that had a… has left me a very strong impression of Canada was when the former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau said in one of his very famous speeches that Canada must be a just society. And I think to me that was very significant to hear, that we live in a country that strives to be fair, and equitable, and just. I think that is a tall order for all of us as Canadians to strive for.