The NFB is committed to respecting your privacy

We use cookies to ensure that our site works efficiently, as well as for advertising purposes.

If you do not wish to have your information used in this way, you can modify your browser settings before continuing your visit.

Learn more
In the Shadow of Gold Mountain (English and Mandarin Subtitles)

In the Shadow of Gold Mountain (English and Mandarin Subtitles)

| 43 min

Karen Cho, a fifth-generation Canadian of mixed heritage, discovered that half her family wasn't welcome in the country they called home. While Canada encouraged and rewarded immigration from Europe, it imposed laws that singled out the Chinese as unwanted and unwelcome. Cho's film, In the Shadow of Gold Mountain, takes her from Montreal to Vancouver to uncover stories from the last living survivors of the Chinese Head Tax and Exclusion Act. This dark chapter in our history, from 1885 until 1947, plunged the Chinese community in Canada into decades of debt and family separation. At the centre of the film are personal accounts of extraordinary Chinese Canadians who survived an era that threatened to eradicate their entire community. Through a rich melding of history, poetry and raw emotion, this documentary sheds light on an era that shaped the identity of generations, with deeply moving testimonials, it reveals the profound ways this history still casts its shadow.


Credits not available


Enjoy the NFB experience on your favourite device. 


Ages 15 to 17

Mini-Lesson - In the Shadow of Gold Mountain

Civics/Citizenship - Human Rights
Diversity - Identity
History - World War II
Social Studies - Social Policies and Programs

Brainstorm what students know about Chinese immigration and the Head Tax. Identify the complaints of the white government as more Chinese labourers came to Canada. Discuss the long-lasting and devastating results of discrimination directed toward the Chinese immigrants. Comment on the importance of World War II and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as catalysts for change in the Chinese community.

Embed this code on your site

Video player width

by Reset