Old Hillcrest Chinese Cemetery receives financial support from Island business leader

The 74-year-old cemetery is a Provincial Historic Site and contains 127 Chinese Canadians

The Old Hillcrest Chinese Cemetery requires ongoing maintenance. (Heritagebc.ca)

Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit is providing a financial contribution to the ongoing maintenance of Cowichan’s Old Hillcrest Chinese Cemetery.

The 74-year-old cemetery is a Provincial Historic Site and contains 127 Chinese Canadians – a preserved relic of the ongoing influence Chinese Canadians have in the Cowichan area.

While the site has been rehabilitated and revitalized, with efforts made to restore and record gravestone data and burial records, efforts to conserve the graveyard are ongoing.

That’s why Dr. Sylvester Chuang, owner of Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit, is presenting a donation to the cemetery.

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“Chinese people were greatly involved in BC.’s logging industry in Cowichan,” he said. “However, before 1947, these hard-working immigrants faced many restrictions, including being unable to marry. When they died, they did not have family nearby to care for their burial or their grave.

“I applaud the community volunteers who have been working to restore, maintain and improve the cemetery and for their extensive research of burial documentation.”

Chuang, now retired, came to Canada as a young man to study medicine. He owns the Villa Eyrie Resort, the Cowichan River Lodge, the Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit in Cowichan and 12 car dealerships on Vancouver Island, employing almost 550 Vancouver Island residents.

The financial contribution was presented Wednesday afternoon.

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