Meet 3 Chinese language-speaking immigrants who selected to reside in Kelowna over Metro Vancouver

Pleasure Lee (李長昭) left behind her well-paying pc engineering profession in Taiwan to return to Kelowna, B.C., six years in the past as a world pupil.

Her choice to settle within the Okanagan Valley wasn’t simply in regards to the availability of her favorite bubble tea and different Taiwanese delicacies on the town, she stated.

“Kelowna [weather] is dry and [feels] rather more snug,” she stated. “Vancouver, alternatively, there’s an excessive amount of rain — this wet [weather] is miserable within the wintertime.”

Climate and way of life are amongst a number of explanation why a rising variety of Chinese language-speaking immigrants are shifting to the Okanagan metropolis from Metro Vancouver, the extra conventional selection for newcomers from Taiwan, China, Hong Kong and Macau.

Knowledge from the 2021 census exhibits that one per cent of the inhabitants of the Kelowna metropolitan space, residence to greater than 220,000 folks, converse Chinese language languages — together with Mandarin and Cantonese — as their first language.

However that is a 46 per cent soar from the earlier census 5 years in the past — a lot greater than the 6.3 per cent enhance in Chinese language audio system in Metro Vancouver.

Counting new immigrants alone, census information exhibits a 30 per cent enhance of Chinese language audio system within the Kelowna metropolitan space, in comparison with a ten.5 per cent drop in Metro Vancouver.

Lee had beforehand lived in Vancouver on a working vacation visa for a 12 months, then moved again to Canada to check human sources administration on the Okanagan Faculty in Kelowna.

Since commencement, she has been working as a supervisor at native eating places. She says her hospitality gigs in Kelowna — which she describes as a city for retirees — present a soothing area she must develop her social expertise that weren’t extremely valued in her previous career in Taipei.

“I choose extra of an interacting surroundings with folks, as a result of whenever you’re an engineer, I might be in entrance of the pc all day,” she stated. “I am attending to know myself extra [in Kelowna].”

Pleasure Lee enjoys a bubble tea drink at Formosa Tea Café in Kelowna’s Glenmore neighbourhood. She says the Okanagan metropolis offers a soothing area she must develop her social expertise. (Winston Szeto/CBC)

‘I would like Kelowna to be the vacation spot of extra folks’

Tim Liu (刘宇), initially from China’s Xinjiang area, determined to settle in Kelowna nearly a decade in the past after ending his six-month internship at a neighborhood tech startup, as a way to fulfil the commencement requirement for his grasp’s program in software program programs on the College of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver.

Liu says throughout his research he by no means left Metro Vancouver and frolicked along with his largely Chinese language buddies. However after he landed in Kelowna, he rapidly fell in love with the local weather — much like Xinjiang’s he says — and befriended colleagues from varied cultural backgrounds, in a piece surroundings he describes as a far cry from the hustle tradition widespread in Chinese language workplaces.

“On Friday afternoon, we had ping-pong or soccer video games, and we had beers,” he stated. “Within the summertime, we jumped into the lake throughout lunch break.”

A number of years in the past, Liu arrange a bunch on the social media platform WeChat, the place he frequently posts translated details about happenings in Kelowna for the rising Chinese language immigrant neighborhood.

“I would like Kelowna to be the vacation spot of extra folks,” he stated.

Karl Chan, a former science instructor working at Hong Kong excessive faculties for greater than 10 years, says it was God’s will he selected Kelowna, a metropolis that he hadn’t beforehand recognized, as his vacation spot two years in the past.

He says he was glad UBC Okanagan, as a substitute of UBC Vancouver, provided him admission to a grasp’s program in electrical engineering, after studying there is a Cantonese-speaking Baptist church in Kelowna hosted by a pastor from Hong Kong.

“I felt that there was some steering for me to return right here,” stated Chan, a longtime Christian.

Karl Chan on the Okanagan Chinese language Baptist Church in Kelowna’s Rutland neighbourhood. As a Christian, he feels he has made the fitting option to reside in Kelowna due to the Chinese language-speaking church. (Winston Szeto/CBC)

Since commencement, he has been pursuing part-time instructing gigs from Okanagan Faculty to fulfil his ardour for math and science schooling.

He says many Hong Kong immigrants he is aware of are annoyed with not getting significant employment in Canada, however he hopes they persevere and finally make a optimistic impression on the area people.

Dawn South10:33Meet three Chinese language-speaking immigrants who selected to reside in Kelowna over Metro Vancouver

CBC’s Winston Szeto speaks to 3 members of the quickly rising Chinese language-speaking communities within the Central Okanagan.

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