MEET AND EAT AT LEE’S GARDEN
My documentary MEET AND EAT AT LEE’S GARDEN was broadcast by CBC on Saturday, November 14, 2020 on the show Absolutely Canadian. It is a social and historical look at what Chinese restaurants meant to the Chinese and Jewish communities in the 1950s. It is available for streaming in Canada at CBC Gem – Absolutely Canadian – Meet and Eat at Lee’s Garden
When I was a kid, my second home was our restaurant, Lee’s Garden. My father opened it in 1951 and operated it for about 20 years until he retired in the early 1970s. I started working there on Sundays when I was in elementary school and it became my summer job during high school. The restaurant is the inspiration for many of my stories. It’s where I heard my father and the Greek and Jewish customers tell stories about immigrating to Canada. These stories were little gems as my parents didn’t talk much about their past, so I sat there quietly, listening as they talked and laughed about the people they knew, the jobs they had and the discrimination they faced. I only gleaned little details here and there and could never connect the whole story until a friend’s chance remark made me realize that the restaurant was more than just a way for my parents to make a living.
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