Involvement in Industry

Early Chinese immigrants to Brantford were largely shut out of the city's industrial workforce. This led them to establish small businesses such as restaurants and laundries. However, later generations played signficant roles in Brantford's manufacturing industries. In February 1943, the Brantford Expositor ran an article (right) about Marjorie Sam and Mrs. Eva Lewis, two sisters of Chinese descent who were employed in a war materials production plant. In March that same year, an issue of The Cockshutt Plant News (below) showcased the plant's designing and mechanical engineers, including Richard W. Lee, B. Sc., M.E., a second-generation Chinese-Canadian.

The text of the Expositor article (right) reads:

Marjorie Sam, 21, and her sister, Mrs. Eva Lewis, 23, Chinese, are both working in war plants here. Marjorie is a welder and Eve a power records keeper. Shops where they are employed are making airplanes.


The grandmother of the girls and other relatives are in that part of China occupied by Japan. With every seam she welds, Marjorie says she is making a small contribution to free the land where her grandmother lives.

The girls are the daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Charlie Sam, who operate a cafe here. They have six brothers and sisters.

Marjorie got her job on her own initiative after taking a special course in welding.

"I saw an advertisement in the newspaper saying girls were wanted to learn welding. I believed that was my chance," she said. "I answered the advertisement and went to school for eight weeks before I got my job. I like it, and it's doing my bit."

Her sister, Eve, lived for a time at Kapuskaking, Ont., where her husband worked in the restaurant business. He is now working in a war plant in Toronto.

The Sams form one of this city's best known Chinese families. Marjorie is one of the most popular girls at the plant where she works. "The girls are doing well," their mother said. "I am proud to have them working in Canada's war factories. Our people in China need much help. What my girls are doing, I am sure is their contribution not only to China but to all of the Allies."


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