So who better to choose for National Treasure #88 than a Chinese-Canadian who had a successful sporting, business, and public service career? Talk about abundance.
Coming from Edmonton and Calgary, I would of course think of Normie Kwan, aka Norman Lim Kwan, aka the China Clipper, who played fullback for both the Edmonton Eskimos and the Calgary Stampeders. He wasn’t a big guy – online sites give his height as 5′ 7″ or 5′ 9″ – but he set 30 records in the Canadian Football League.
Born in Calgary, Normie was the son of Chinese immigrants who paid a head tax to get to Canada. He was the first Chinese-Canadian to play pro football in Canada, and the first Chinese-Canadian to serve as an Alberta Lieutenant-Governor.
It’s hard to believe that we are still so close to those days–the days of “firsts” for people of colour–but we are. Here’s the CBC News coverage of Normie’s death, at 86, in 2016. Here’s the coverage from a site called 3DownNation, which has a more personal touch.