Fonds PR-277 - David Chuen-Yan Lai fonds

Portrait of Dr. David Lai

Identity area

Reference code



David Chuen-Yan Lai fonds


  • 1974 - 2010 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

35 cm of textual records.
4 publications.
[130] photographs.

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

David Chuen-Yan Lai was born in Hong Kong. He received his PhD from the London School of Economics and began teaching as an assistant professor in geography at the University of Victoria in 1968. A long-time resident of Saanich, Dr. Lai was a member (1982) and Chair (1983 and 1989) of the Saanich Heritage Advisory and Archival Committee and was involved in establishing the Saanich Heritage Foundation. This work earned him a Heritage Society of BC award in 1985. He is a member of the Order of Canada and received the Gabrielle Leger award from Heritage Canada. Dr. Lai, known for his research on Chinese communities and Chinatowns in Canada, is the author of a number of publications including "The Forbidden City Within Victoria: Myth, Symbol and Streetscape of Canada's Earliest Chinatown", Victoria, B.C.: Orca Book Pub., 1991. David Lai died June 15, 2018.


Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Donated in 2017.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Fonds consists of papers and reports relating to Dr. Lai's community work, especially his work relating to Chinese heritage and Chinatown. Fonds includes materials from his time as Chair and member of the Saanich Heritage Advisory and Archival Committee, and to the Saanich Heritage Awareness Program in particular. Topics include Chinese-Canadian history, Chinatown, and D'Arcy Island. Includes correspondence, news clippings, articles, photographs, film negatives, colour slides, and posters. Fonds includes material in Chinese and English.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

No restrictions.

Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

  • Chinese
  • English

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

File list available.

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

See also the David Lai fonds (CA UVICARCH SC556) at the University of Victoria Special Collections and University Archives, as well as the Dr. David Lai Research Collection at the Richard Charles Lee Canada-Hong Kong Library (Robarts Library), University of Toronto.

Notes area


Accession numbers: 2017-006, 2017-009.


Oversize material stored separately.

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Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion




Accession area