Detail of the Hong Hing Waterfront Store mural, Chemainus, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada. It was painted by Paul Marcano.
The Hong Hing text panel says: “Hong Hing was actually the name of his store, his real name being Fong Yen Lew. After a half-century career as a shopkeeper, second-hand dealer, bootlegger, gambling house, and general busboy he returned to China, presumably to die. Instead, he married a woman forty years his junior, who presented him with an heir before old Hong joined his ancestors.”
Chemainus is a community on the east coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.
Founded as a logging town in 1858, the town is now famous for its 39 outdoor murals. This outdoor gallery has given birth to many businesses, including a theatre, antiques dealers, and eateries. The tourist industry stemming from the murals helped rejuvenate the town after its large sawmill closed in the early 1980s and was replaced by a smaller but far more efficient mill.
The name “Chemainus” comes from the native shaman and prophet “Tsa-meeun-is” (Broken Chest). Legend says that the man survived a massive wound in his chest to become a powerful chief. His people took his name to identify their community, the Stz’uminus First Nation, formerly the Chemainus Indian Band.