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STORIES / Jean Lumb

Jean Lumb

Jean Lumb was the first Chinese-Canadian woman to receive the Order of Canada in 1976, honouring her efforts in changing immigration laws and helping save Chinatown.

A portrait illustration of Jean Lumb.

Restaurateur and Community Organizer

Born in Nanaimo, British Columbia, Jean Lumb moved to Toronto in 1945 with her husband and together they established a successful restaurant called the Kwong Chow Chop Suey House. Lumb actively fought for the rights and recognition of the Chinese community in Toronto through a series of channels, primarily by leading the Save Chinatown Committee which can be attributed with protecting Toronto’s iconic Chinatown neighbourhood from demolition. In 1976 she received the Order of Canada, making her the first Chinese-Canadian woman to receive the honour.

Lumb’s advocacy work paved the way for greater inclusion and diversity, leaving a lasting impact on Toronto’s multicultural fabric and inspiring future generations.

Explore more women who transformed Toronto.

Further Resources
Read our in-depth biography of Jean Lumb
Learn about Jean Lumb Lane in Toronto’s Chinatown neighbourhood
Find Jean Lumb’s official historic plaque in Toronto
Explore the in-depth entry on Jean Lumb in the Canadian Encyclopedia.
Learn about the Jean Lumb Foundation which keeps Lumb’s mission alive through education and history
Learn about Lumb through this unique article that chronicles the homes she inhabited throughout her time in Toronto

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