Jean Bessie Wong was born in Nanaimo, British Columbia back in1919 to Fun and Hone. She left school at the age of 12 to help support her family. In 1935, she moved to Toronto and later opened her won grocery store when she was 17. In 1939, she married Doyle and the couple had 6 children.
Jean was the co-owner and Director of the Kwong Chow Restaurant in Toronto for 23 years. the restaurant was highly successful and popular with both Chinese and Westerners as with many politicians due to its proximity to Toronto’s City Hall. She died in 2002, she was 82-83.
What you may not know about Jean Bessie Lumb is that she was the first Chinese Canadian woman and the first restauranteur to receive the Order of Canada for her community work. She also had many other firsts for a Chinese Woman, the first on the board of governors of the Women’s College Hospital, first on the board of University Settlement House, first to receive the Fran Deck Award for outstanding achievement in Toronto’s restaurant industry and the first Chinese Canadian woman to sit on the Broad of Rotary-Laughlen Center.
NW Arkansas, come for a visit, stay for a lifetime.