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Mi Hong Family

Mi Hong

Mi Hong was born on October 4, 1877 in the Chinese Province of Canton. He arrived in Victoria, British Columbia on August 14, 1903. He worked his way to Canada as a ship’s cook. Once in Victoria he worked as a “house boy” for a monthly wage of $7.00. Later he worked in a hotel as a pastry chef. In 1913 he went back to China to marry his first wife and fathered two sons, Vin and Tor. After the death of his first wife, Mi married ‘June’ Chung Eng and came back to Canada after the birth of his third son, Wing Shu. He brought his wife and his children to Canada in 1918 and paid $1,500.00 in head tax. Mi Hong eventually moved his family to Windsor, Ontario. His wife, June Hong was one of the only two Chinese women in Windsor, the other being Lily Lee. The Hong family opened the Victoria Lunch Restaurant at 154 Wyandotte Street East. The restaurant moved, in 1922, to 928 Wyandotte Street East with a second location at 1824 Ottawa Street operated by June. During the Depression the family was forced to close both Victoria Lunch restaurants. However, by 1940 Mi and June opened a new restaurant called the Sunnyside Café at 1540 Ottawa Street. Mi and June Hong had seven children, Wing Shu, Joseph, George, Douglas, Ruth, Jean and May. Their oldest son Wing Shu was drafted and trained for military service at the onset of the Second World War, but was discharged, because he was classified as a ‘resident alien’.

Mi Hong had paid the head tax for Wing Shu thus making him ineligible to serve in the Canadian military; only Canadian citizens were allowed into the service. After the war Wing Shu married Patricia Eng, whom he brought back from Hong Kong. They had three sons in Windsor, George, James and Gary. Ruth Hong married Lawrence Flood and had a daughter and a son. Ruth died in 2001. Jean Hong along with her brothers and sisters worked long hard hours to make their parents’ businesses successful. She went on to marry Edward Lee and with him they ran a very successful boating business, ‘Edgewater Marine,’ located on Riverside Drive East at Lauzon. Jean passed away in December, 1993. She is survived by her husband, Edward and three children and nine grandchildren. May Hong married Henry Lee, an electrical engineer with Chrysler, and whose family ran ‘Dragon Foods’ and ‘The Oriental Centre.’ They are survived by two daughters. May died at an early age, in September, 1951. Joseph, the middle son of Mi and June, was a successful media assistant for the Windsor Star when he enlisted in the RCAF as a Flying Officer. He was killed in action on his first mission in May, 1944 when his plane was shot down over France. George also enlisted in the Canadian military serving as a Private with The West Nova Scotia Regiment. He was killed in Italy, on September 8, 1944 and is buried at Ancona War Cemetery. In memory of their sacrifice a street in east Windsor is named “Hong Court” in their honour. Douglas, the youngest son of Mi and June, tried to enlist into the army but was turned away for being underage. He was killed in a motorcycle accident October 31, 1949. Mi Hong died on June 1, 1945 while June passed away at the age of 96 on January 23, 1981.