Restaurant owners move to Sask. to find support for autistic daughter

The owner of the Shanghai Lily restaurant in Regina came to Saskatchewan to find support for his daughter with autism.

Owner of the Shanghai Lily in Regina says the city is "good to raise kids"

YC and his daughter Lily (Submitted by Yi Chun )

Yi Chun was a businessman in Shanghai, China for 20 years before he decided to move to Regina.

Chun, who goes by YC, and his wife Wei Shi or Mary, realized that life in Shanghai wasn't great for their daughter Lily.

Lily has autism and a friend of the family, who was living in Regina, told them Saskatchewan would be a good place to find support for their daughter. 

I talked to my daughter and said, 'Don't worry. Daddy will bring you someplace people will show love to you.'- Yi Chun, owner of Shanghai Lily restaurant 

"In China, if your kid's behaviour is not common, not normal, people don't want to talk to you, they don't like you. We had lots of stress from school and other families," Chun explained.

"I talked to my daughter and said, 'Don't worry. Daddy will bring you someplace people will show love to you.' That's the reason I moved to Regina."

YC and Mary run Shanghai Lily Restaurant in Regina. (Nichole Huck/CBC)

In 2011, the family applied to come to Canada under the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program. One of the conditions is that you start a business, so Chun and Shi started exploring different opportunities. 

Chun said Regina was a good place to raise his daughter, but it wasn't a good place to find authentic Chinese food. 

"The food people were calling Chinese food [were things] such as deep fried chicken wings and chicken balls. [That] is not something we ate in China. I said to my wife, 'why don't we start up a real Chinese restaurant?'" Chu said.

The couple bought a house on 14th Avenue, near downtown Regina, and converted it into the Shanghai Lily restaurant. It is named after their daughter. 

Shanghai Lily is located in what was once a house on 14th Avenue in Regina. (Nichole Huck CBC )

Chun said moving to Regina has been really good for his daughter. The 15-year-old is now in her first year of high school at Campbell Collegiate and has an educational assistant who works one-on-one with her everyday. 

Chun said business has also been good. The family works long hours, opening for lunch and closing just before midnight, but he said his daughter comes there after school and is able to feel at home. 


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