Blossoms in the Gold Mountains

Chinese Settlements in the Fraser Canyon and the Okanagan

By Lily Chow

Categories: BC History
Imprint: Caitlin Press
Paperback : 9781987915501, 224 pages, February 2018


Third book by de facto expert on Chinese Immigration to BC reveals never-before-told stories relevant to food, politics and national heritage. In this long awaited third book, author Lily Chow further explores Chinese settlement in BC. In the nineteenth century, thousands of Chinese immigrants arrived in British Columbia to work as labourers. After the Fraser Gold Rush and the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway ended, many Chinese could not afford to return to their home in China. Blossoms in the Gold Mountains is the story of those that stayed in BC and settled in the Fraser Canyon, Okanagan and the Spallumcheen Valley.

The interior of BC was a logical place for many Chinese to settle. There they could work for farmers, orchardists and ranchers helping to cultivate and deliver crops to market. Many others set up small businesses servicing the communities that were developing all over the province. And as these Chinese communities, known as Chinatowns, became established more Chinese made the journey to Canada to join their family members. The immigrants faced racial prejudice and discriminatory immigration policies. The government restrictions in immigration were lifted in 1947 but the widespread racism continued for decades.

Despite the challenges and obstacles, the Chinese settlers were determined to succeed in their new country. Blossoms in the Gold Mountains is a collection of intriguing personal stories that portray the experiences and challenges of both the early Chinese settlers and their descendants. This is a book of human endeavor, not just a record of history.


  • Commended, British Columbia Historical Federation’s Historical Writing Competition 2019


“Chow offers a valuable study of early Chinese settlements in the Fraser Canyon and Okanagan. Drawing on a wealth of sources, she provides important descriptions about early Chinese communities in and around six towns in the province’s interior. The author is well acquainted with the systemic discrimination Chinese people faced, having explored her own family history. Besides depictions of early settlers’ hardships, Chow’s narrative also includes instances where Indigenous people were allies, white people expressed sympathetic feelings and advocates within the Chinatowns gave support.”

BC History

“Lily Chow provides an inclusive and accurate historical narrative that looks back in time just as we look forward and aspire to be a nation that derives strength and commonality from the diversity she reveals. I commend Chow for this gift of sharing a history that is both factually correct and an inspiration for a future of together living and working in peace.”

BC BookWorld