Montreal

Teaching the value of cultural heritage in Brossard

Every weekend, Brossard resident Diana Low would commute back and forth over the Champlain Bridge with her children so they could learn Chinese language and culture. It was her only option. That is, until she and a few friends decided to start a school of their own.

School offers everyone a chance to learn about Chinese culture

Diana Low is the co-founder and principal at the Brossard Chinese School. (Jessica Wu/CBC)

If you build it, they will come.

Thirty years ago, South Shore residents would have to travel into Montreal to attend Chinese school. Every weekend, Brossard resident Diana Low would do just that, commuting back and forth over the Champlain Bridge with her children so they could learn Chinese.

At the time, going downtown was her only option. That is, until she and a few friends decided to start a school of their own.

Students perform at the end-of-year recital at the Brossard Chinese School. (Jessica Wu/CBC)

The Brossard Chinese School is a non-profit organization that was established in 1991. The school's 12-year curriculum emphasizes an appreciation of Chinese culture, including calligraphy, history, folklore dance, tai chi, flute and kung fu.

Low, the school's principal, says the variety of its offerings ensures that students have a well-rounded knowledge of Chinese culture. 

Low always looks forward to the end-of-year recital, where parents, neighbours and friends gather to celebrate the hard work of the students and teachers. 

"I get a warm and fuzzy feeling when the community comes together," she says.

Some artwork and calligraphy made by students. (Jessica Wu/CBC)

The school also offers free origami lessons every Wednesday in parks across Brossard, something Low started as a way to help build understanding across cultural communities and fight anti-Asian racism.

"I know one origami in the park won't do it. But these are the tools that I have at the moment that I can share with the community," she said.

"Through friendship and understanding, I hope we can build a better future for our future generations."


May is #AsianHeritageMonth and to celebrate, we've profiled Asian-Canadian businesses from across the country that are at the hearts of their communities. And for more Asian Heritage Month content, visit CBC Gem for a new collection of series, documentaries and films that honour the rich culture and talent of Asian-Canadians and follow the hashtag #ProudlyAsianCanadian on social media for more inspiring profiles. You can see profiles of other Montrealers here.

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