THE CHINESE TEMPLE IN 1881

The Chinese community played a major role in the development of British Columbia in general, and of the Lytton area in particular. In the Fraser & Thompson Canyons, Chinese were involved in railway construction (several railway camps were located within a few kilometres of town) and gold mining (many tailing sites still exist in the area), were merchants in Lytton and surrounding communities, and were innovative vegetable farmers.

The Chinese temple was typical of its time; it was of wood frame construction with wood siding. The entrance to the building was from Lytton’s Main Street and was more elaborate than the other three sides of the 18×27-ft structure.

The interior was divided into three useful spaces: the main area where the altar and statues resided, a smaller room that served as a guest room, and a small caretakers quarters. When the two entrance doors were opened, the altar that housed the deities was clearly visible from the street.

The official opening of the temple, attended by local Chinese as well as dignitaries from Victoria and New Westminster, took place in April 1883.

OPENING DAY, May 13 2017.

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RECOGNITION

The ‘Lytton Joss House’ has recently been recognized as a historic place with provincial significance. It will be included on the B.C. Register of Historic Places, and will be put forward for inclusion on the Canada Register of Historic Places. The project is one of the legacy initiatives stemming from the Apology for Historical Wrongs against Chinese Canadians that was issued by the provincial government in 2014.