The Film

Beyond the Gardens’ Wall is a new 30-minute high definition documentary film telling the compelling story of the Chinese and Sikh immigrants who arrived in Canada to work at a now-vanished community near Victoria, British Columbia, in the early 1900s.

Funded by the Community Historical Recognition Program of the Canadian Department of Citizenship and Immigration, the film vividly demonstrates the harsh impact of Canada’s restrictive “Head Tax” and “Continuous Journey” laws and other restrictive immigration regulations.

This film is unique in that it documents two different immigrant cultures living peacefully in the same town, along with their white supervisors. Revealing how the different immigration restrictions affected these two groups, the film shows how these restrictions, and the resistance to immigrants to Canada in that day, resulted in major hardships. The affect of those hardships on the descendants of those early immigrants, and how they cope with those challenges is a fresh and surprising part of the story.

Through a narrator, archival film, voices of the workers from the past, and new interviews with descendants of these workers, the full story is uncovered. The film presents this true capsule of Canadian history to a wide audience; school and university classes, the cultural communities affected, and the broader general Canadian public.

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