Fonds Add. MSS. 1108;CVA 689 - Yip family and Yip Sang Ltd. fonds

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Yip family and Yip Sang Ltd. fonds

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Reference code

CA CVAN Add. MSS. 1108;CVA 689

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  • 1895-1989 (Creation)
    Yip (family)

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Physical description

13 m of textual records;147 photographs

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Biographical history

The Yip family in Vancouver began with Yip Sang's arrival in B.C. in 1881. Yip Sang, whose real name was Yip Chun Tien (along with two other Chinese names, Yip Loy Yiu and Yip Lin Sang), was born in China in 1845. In 1864, he left his home village in Guangdong province to travel to San Francisco, where he worked as a dishwasher, cook, cigar maker, and labourer in the goldfields. Eventually, he left for B.C., and in 1881, after first looking for gold in the north, settled in Vancouver and found work as a pedlar, selling sacks of coal door to door. In 1882, he was employed by the Canadian Pacific Railroad Supply Company, where he worked as a bookkeeper, timekeeper, paymaster and then as the Chinese superintendent. In 1885, Yip Sang left the company and returned to China. In 1888, he returned to Vancouver and established the import and export firm of Wing Sang Company (the Wing Sang Building, at 51-69 Pender Street, was built in 1889 and 1902). During his lifetime, Yip Sang had four wives and a total of twenty-three children. He became a naturalized British subject in 1891. Yip Sang was one of the driving forces in the establishment of the Chinese Benevolent Association, the Chinese School and the Chinese Hospital in Vancouver. He was a lifetime governor of Vancouver General Hospital, and was also a benefactor of the Public Hospital in Guangdong province in China. He died in 1927. Wing Sang Company was one of the wealthiest firms in the Chinatown area of Vancouver. It engaged in contracting Chinese workers for the Canadian Pacific Railway Company, as a passenger agency with the Canadian Pacific Steamships Ltd., in the import and export of general merchandise from China and Japan, in money remittance from Vancouver to Hong Kong, and in the dry-salt herring business with China. It also functioned as a passenger agency with the Canadian pacific Steamships Ltd. The Wing Sang Company was renamed Yip Sang Ltd. in 1950.

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Scope and content

The fonds consists of the records of the Yip family, including those of Yip Sang, and of Yip Sang Ltd. and its predecessor, the Wing Sang Company. The fonds includes financial records (mainly account books, remittance stubs, receipts and invoices), correspondence, published material kept by the family, and Yip family photographs, including views of the business, Chinese organizations, and schools.

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Immediate source of acquisition


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Some documents are fragile; please consult photocopies where indicated.

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Finding aids

Series descriptions and file lists available. An original box list in Chinese is available in hardcopy in the reading room. This list does not necessarily correspond with the current arrangement of the records.

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BCAUL control number: CVAN-472

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