Canada connection

Updated: 2013-12-04 11:04

By Huang Zhiling and He Juntian (China Daily)

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Canada connection

Children of the Canadian School in Chengdu, Sichuan province, in the 1930s.

Rich legacies

The museum shows how Canadians reached Chengdu from Vancouver in the late 19th century, and how they launched the West China Union University, promoted modern civilization in Sichuan and introduced the best of Sichuan to the outside world.

The photos include three generations of the Kilborn family who served in China, and Ashley Woodward Lindsay, who is known as the father of modern Chinese dentistry, says Zhou Mengqi, an eminent photographer in Sichuan. Other images are also very valuable, he says, as many of them have not been displayed before: CS Kids, Pandora (the panda which lived the longest outside China before 1949), city walls, streets and people from different walks of life in Chengdu, farmers' lifestyle in suburban counties, and Chengdu's earliest postal plane and mint.

On Oct 4, 1891, O.L. Kilborn sailed from Vancouver, with his medical doctor's degree and his newlywed wife Jennie, and landed in Shanghai on Nov 3. They took a few months to learn Chinese there and took a boat for Sichuan on Feb 16, 1892. After more than three months of hard travel, they reached Chengdu.

Later that year, Kilborn launched the first Western medicine clinic in Chengdu, introducing Western medicine to western China for the first time. In 1910, he was one of the founders of the West China Union University which is the famous West China Medical Center of Sichuan University. He taught chemistry, biology and ophthalmology at the university until he passed away in 1920.

In the Revolution of 1911 that overthrew the Qing Dynasty, Kilborn marched through the muddy battlefield to treat wounded soldiers. A picture of Kilborn treating wounded soldiers is among the museum's exhibits.

The Kilborns had four children and eight grandchildren. All of them were born in Sichuan and had Chinese names.

Ashley Woodward Lindsay (1884-1968) obtained his doctor of dental medicine degree from the Royal College of Dental Surgeons in Toronto in 1906. The next year, Lindsay with his bride A.T. Lindsay left Canada for Chengdu as a medical missionary.

When Lindsay left Sichuan 44 years later in 1951, he had founded China's first dental clinic, hospital and school. He also had founded China's first stomatological hospital in the West China Union University, first research laboratory of stomatology and first English-language dental journal.

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