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Cho Lai Chow
ZZZZ碡Z 1909-2001


Cho Lai ChowBorn in An Kai Lai, Kaiping County, Guangdong, China, (中ZZ廡ZZZZ平縣审Z溪ZZ) May 29, 1909. The second son but third child of Zhong Wan Chow (ZZZZ浡Z) and Cheng Ho (佡ZZZZ) who had a total of four sons and three daughters.

On June 28, 1923 he set sailed aboard the Empress of Australia from Hong Kong and arrived at Victoria, BC, Canada on July 17. Held in a holding cell until his sixth uncle, Zhong Xuan Chow (ZZZZ漡Z), came and paid the $500 Head Tax. Together they went to Milestone, Saskatchewan where his fourth uncle, Zhong Lan Chow (ZZZZZZZ), was staying. Went to school during his stay at Milestone.

In 1924 he moved to Plato, Saskatchewan where his uncle, Zhong Xuan, had just bought a restaurant. Next year went to Conquest, Saskatchewan because Uncle Zhong Xuan had sold the business and returned to China. Spent a year in Conquest then went to Elrose, Saskatchewan and worked as kitchen aide in the Elrose Hotel.

In 1928 return to China where he got married to Der She Chow (謡Z秡ZZZZ). He stayed in China till the end of 1929. He returned to Canada on the Empress of Russia on November 8. While in China, the new couple welcomed a baby boy into the family. However, the baby didn't survived.

After returning from China he went to Plato where he stayed till 1943. This was the Great Depression years. Despite the fact he seldom talked about it but from the bits and pieces we know it was hard. He went prematurely grey. Potato must be the main food staple because he had an aversion to it. One of the benefits of slow business is ample spare time. He used this time to raise chicken, to go fishing, to learn curling. This love of curling never left him. Up to his last days it is the only televised sport he would watch. He even arranged his meals so it wouldn't interfere with his viewing.

In 1943 he moved to Elrose where he purchased the Royal Cafe and changed the name to Liberty Cafe. Applied and became a Canadian citizen in 1949. In early 1950, after almost twenty years, his wife joined him in Canada. They Liberty Cafestarted to raise a family in Canada with the birth of their only daughter, Margaret (ZZZZZZZ), two sons, Harry (ZZZZZ) and Kam (ZZZZZ).

During the 50's he, in keeping with Chinese tradition, arranged to bring his eldest brother, Shui Shao Chow's (ZZZZZZZ) second son, Ming (ZZZ信), his younger brother, Shui Can Chow's (ZZZZZZZ) eldest son, Kam Fay (ZZZZZ), his wife's older brother, Ping Xiang Xie's (謡Z平ZZ) second son, Jim Der (謡Z両Z財Z). In fulfilling a promise made to his former business partner, he arranged for Lai Chow (ZZZZ) to come over from China. All four were in their late teens, no more than a year apart in age. They stayed and worked at the cafe. Eventually the time came for them to spread their wings. Ming was the first to leave. He and his family is now in Edmonton, Alberta. Jim settled in Rosetown, Saskatchewan operating his own restaurant. In 1982, a year after his death, his family moved to and settled in Vancouver. Lai and Kam Fay continued to operate the Liberty Cafe until 1965 when Lai, a non-smoker, died of cancer. In 1981 when Kam Fay sold the restaurant and moved his family to Vancouver, BC.

In 1960 after selling the business to Lai and his nephew Kam Fay, he moved his family to Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. His intention was to operate a restaurant there. This never happened because of lacking a suitable partner. He converted the upstairs of the building earmarked for his new restaurant into a rooming house for elderly Chinese. He spent the next quarter century looking after his tenants' needs, such as booking and accompanied them to doctor's appointments, writing letter to relatives, corresponding with all levels of government, and keeping them abreast with events of the outside world.

Canada's more liberal immigration policies of the 70's enabled him and his wife to sponsor one more nephew to Canada. In 1980 his wife's youngest brother, Ping An Xie's (謡Z平ZZ) son, Tho Lim Der (謡Z紡ZZZZ), arrived at Moose Jaw. A year later his family joined him there. In 1986 they moved to Vancouver where he now operates his own restaurant.

In September 1984, almost two years after the death of his wife, he moved to Burnaby, BC, to live with his daughter and her family.

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