Daniel Law Family
Ming John arrived alone in Canada at the port of Vancouver in
He came to
Windsor as a twenty year old man and found
work on Drouillard Road as a cook at the East Windsor Tavern.
He arrived during a period when the amended Chinese Immigration
Act of 1901 had effectively raised the ‘head tax’ for
the third time to $500.00; the equivalent of two years wages.
uncommon for Chinese men to return to China, take a bride and
family. During the early 1920s King Ming
John took two separate trips to China to visit his wife Goo Young
and begin his family. His daughter Sun Chang Law (nee John) was
born in 1923 and his son Back Lin John was born in 1924.
Ming John’s dream was to reunite his entire family
in Canada. Both domestic and international events persuaded Canada
to enact the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1923 which prevented him
from doing so. The end of World War II saw many changes take place
on the world’s landscape. Canada became a signatory to the
United Nation’s Charter of Human Rights, which compelled
Canada, along with internal forces, to enact a bill to repeal
the Exclusion Act in 1947. After being separated from his wife
for thirty years, King Ming was finally reunited with Goo Young
in 1951. This was the plight of most Chinese men and the legacy
of hundreds of Chinese families.
Ming’s dream was now in sight as the Immigration Act
had been liberalized to meet Canada’s international obligation.
Back Lin John being the eldest son was the first to bring his
family to Windsor in November 1964. Sun Chang and Yau Law followed
two years later arriving on Thanksgiving Day 1966. To mark the
occasion everyone went to Jackson Park and celebrated near the
Law and his cousin Sungee John are mindful of their grandparent’s
sacrifice and their parent’s patient and deliberate wait
to come to Windsor. Daniel Law recalled when he first met the
Honourable Paul Martin Sr., Minister of External Affairs as a
little boy in Hong Kong in 1954, “It was suggested during
that meeting that our entire family come to Canada. That was one
of the trips a lot of Chinese immigrants began to pay respect
to Herb Grey and Paul Martin”.
Law came to Windsor at the age of fifteen in 1966. He attended
the first year and then went to John
Campbell to learn English. He recalled, “It was common practice
to send immigrant children back a year, rather than integrate
them into the regular program”. Daniel attended Walkerville
Collegiate and described it as the best time of his life. He had
many friends and recounts his good relations with his teachers.
started working at a young age to help his parents and grandparents
so the younger
children would have a chance for a
better life. Family came first and when his grandfather had him
chop potatoes he had no choice. His high school friends didn’t
understand why he couldn’t go out on Friday nights or attend
the prom. Daniel did what he was called upon to do, whether it
was busing tables or filling water glasses, he did what was needed.
His contribution helped his family pay the mortgage or buy food.
and his father purchased Leo’s Pizzeria on Walker
Road when his grandfather retired. Daniel worked for four years
and met his bride to be Dora; he promised her that he would marry
her at the new restaurant. The Red Sail Restaurant was built on
the Walker Road site. In 2007 it celebrated its 35th Anniversary
as one of Windsor’s premiere authentic Hong Kong styled
cuisine restaurants. It wasn’t unusual for Daniel to serve
former teachers at the Red Sail.
became inspired by politics many years before when his grandfather
to visit Paul Martin Sr. at his home. He
has had the pleasure of serving many of Canada’s top politicians
at the restaurant: Brian Mulroney, John Turner, Kim Campbell,
Jean Chretien, David Peterson, and Frank Miller are among the
notables. He also served six different police chiefs. His good
relationship with the police Daniel credits to his grandfather.
He remembers when his family first arrived, “Constable Pete
Duregin met them and took them in his pick-up truck”.
recalls the Red Sail weathered its share of economic ups and
the Red Sail’s success to the faith
of his wife, the support of his loving family and his staff; many
of whom have been with him for more than twenty-two years. Upon
the death of his father and his mother’s retirement Dora
and Daniel became the owners of the Red Sail.
spent summers at the University of Western Ontario and earned
the Canadian Restaurant Association Management Certificate.
During those years his family was quick to help out including
his aunt and uncle, Barbara and J.J. Lefave. Daniel considers
himself fortunate and as a result he believes in giving back to
the community. This commitment has taken many forms over the years.
He was the first to open his kitchen to help train St. Clair College
students in food preparation. He also helped create the chef class
at George Brown College and St. Clair College. He has taught night
school classes and also spoken to elementary school children about
Chinese cooking and culture. His fondness and involvement in a
variety of local groups has been honored by the many plaques which
line the walls of his restaurant. One day Daniel would like the
Red Sail to be converted into a retirement home for Chinese Canadians.
can speak both Mandarin and Cantonese and has acted as a translator
to help resolve problems. In 1989, Daniel served
as an Ambassador of Goodwill for the City of Windsor in China
and Fujisawa, Japan. The Commemorative Medal for the 125th Anniversary
of Confederation was presented to him in 1992. It was approved
by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and nominations were sanctioned
by the Governor General of Canada. Its presentation honours
Canadians who have made a significant contribution to their
fellow citizens, to their community or to Canada. The medal
was presented at special ceremonies across the country. In 1998,
the Promotional Achievement Award was bestowed upon Daniel by
the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau for his efforts to
promote Windsor and bring visitors to the city. The Law’s
have been very involved with Filipino Community and Daniel is
an honorary member of its community centre and a Supreme Commander
of the Knights of Rizal; an organization founded to honour Jose
Rizal, the national hero of the Filipines.
and Dora have a son named Joseph. Today, he is bilingual and
Clerk of the Senate in Ottawa. Family is very
important to Daniel and honoring past relatives is an annual ritual.
For many Chinese the first order of business when visiting home
is to go to the cemetery and pay respect. These are the values
Daniel has instilled in his son. In following that tradition Daniel
has had two trees planted in Dieppe Gardens. One was dedicated
to his father, Yau Law, and the other to Queen Elizabeth II. He
chose Dieppe Gardens out of respect to Joseph’s godmother
Barbara Lefave and his uncle J.J. Lefave, who managed the Cleary
Auditorium, and had the trees placed within view of its edifice.