Manitoba·Point of View

'From China, with passion': Why one Chinese immigrant now calls Winnipeg his home

"So why Winnipeg?" Gang Wang, who came to Canada from China in 2004, explains what led him to the Manitoba city.

Beauty, sunshine and the spirit of the people are why 'Winnipeg is now my Canadian hometown,' says Gang Wang

Gang Wang came to Canada from China in 2004. He says he is now 'a Winnipegger, a Manitoban' and 'a proud Canadian.' (Submitted by Gang Wang)

For Chinese New Year, CBC Manitoba sponsored the Manitoba Great Wall Performing Arts event and the Chinese Business Gala to share Chinese New Year celebrations with Manitobans.

Gang Wang is on the board of Manitoba Great Wall Performing Arts.  

Vancouver, May 27, 2004, sunny.

That was the day I first came to this foreign country to pursue my dream, my Canadian dream. 

I was a 19-year-old young man. With all my families and friends being almost 10,000 kilometres away from me, I was about to start a new life here, on my own. 

People often naturally consider the language barrier being the very first challenge; but for me, it was being alone, feeling homesick, carrying the high expectations in all aspects back from home, but showing the world how strong you were at the same time.

 I choose to stay here because I fell in love with the city's beauty, the prairie's sunshine, the people's attitude and spirits towards their lives. - Gang Wang

Homesickness was like one cancer cell and it was growing quickly; not being able to see your mom and dad for that long was extremely tough, especially for I am their only child.

What was the cure for all of these? You must be kept busy; you work, you study, you volunteer, you live and you experience.

After a few months of hard self-studies, I was able to pass the test of English as a foreign language and was successfully admitted to Kwantlen University College in Richmond, B.C.

'We all cried happy tears at the airport'

A few months in adapting to this new life, I overheard from a friend's friend that Manitoba has a national pilot project, which offered international students off-campus work permits. So I came to Winnipeg, aiming in getting that precious Canadian work experience while studying.

I must tell you, my off-campus work permit was utilized to the fullest extent. My very first part-time job was as a flooring sales associate at Home Depot. Then I was a shipping and receiving associate, working in a huge freezer at Dunn-Rite Chicken. After that, I worked at a call centre in Misericordia Hospital, and then I was a co-op staff accountant at Ernst & Young. 

During those four years at U of M, I did not go back to China at all, not even once.

Finally, in 2009, I graduated from Asper School of Business with a bachelor of commerce (honours) degree with distinction.

I went home during the summer of 2009 to see my parents. We all cried happy tears at the airport.

'So why Winnipeg?'

On Nov. 19, 2011, I became a landed immigrant in Canada. I am now a professional investment portfolio manager working for one of the largest chartered banks in Canada.

During my 14 years in Winnipeg, people often asked me, "So why Winnipeg?" 

I really think it was due to fate. I originally came here for the off-campus work permit; I choose to stay here because I fell in love with the city's beauty, the prairie's sunshine, the people's attitude and spirits towards their lives. 

I am a taxpayer, a husband, a father, a Chinese immigrant, a Winnipegger, a Manitoban — and also now a proud Canadian.- Gang Wang

Winnipeg is now my Canadian hometown.

Mom and Dad are getting older and weaker; they require their only son, who has been physically separated for more than 14 years, to take proper care of them.

Their time left to spend with their only child is being shortened quicker than ever. Thus, their reunion with me through the Family Sponsorship Program is on my next to-do list.

My name is Gang Wang and this is my story. I was from China, with passion. I am a taxpayer, a husband, a father, a Chinese immigrant, a Winnipegger, a Manitoban — and also now a proud Canadian.

For more information about CBC Manitoba's Chinese New Year celebrations, click this link.

For the Mandarin version, click here.

This column is part of  CBC's Opinion section. For more information about this section, please read this editor's blog and our FAQ.


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