Saturday, March 2, 2024

Calgary legend Normie Kwong’s life captured in Heritage Minutes movie

Calgarian’s younger struggles and championship soccer efforts the main focus of 60-second journey

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Norman Kwong’s 86 years on Earth have been crammed with many moments of affection, success and celebration.

Far too many, actually, to jam right into a 60-second vignette.

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However Historica Canada did its finest to do the Calgarian’s life justice with the manufacturing of certainly one of its iconic Heritage Minutes — the quick movie to be launched on YouTube early Tuesday.

“It’s the telling of a really Alberta story,” stated former Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi, board member of Historica Canada. “Norman Kwong — one extraordinary Calgarian, Albertan … neighborhood chief, builder, hero.

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“And I’m so excited that now we have the chance to inform the story of somebody whose mother and father got here right here — regardless of the ‘head tax’ — and struggled,” continued Nenshi. “I like that we’re capturing this story on this iconic Canadian vogue.”

Funded by the Canadian Race Relations Basis and First Nationwide Monetary, the minute-long look-back on the lifetime of Kwong centres on his trials going through racism rising up within the metropolis, the compassion and help of his mother and father, who owned Riverside Money & Carry, and his efforts in operating to 2 touchdowns to assist his Canadian Soccer League group win the 1955 Gray Cup.

It’s a poignant snap-shot of the person who grew to become the primary Chinese language Canadian skilled soccer participant, a four-time Gray Cup king-pin — successful the CFL championship with each the Calgary Stampeders and the Edmonton Eskimos — and Alberta’s sixteenth lieutenant governor — the primary of Chinese language heritage — from 2005-10.

“We’re very humbled,” stated Kwong’s son Greg, who was joined by a few dozen relations for the launch of the Heritage Minutes movie Monday evening on the Calgary Chinese language Cultural Centre. “I imply … on the very least, this doesn’t occur daily. So we’re a bit shocked.

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“I used to be amazed after we have been contracted a few yr in the past for our permission on this, and it was superb how a lot analysis they did. They requested a bunch of questions, requested for footage and requested for lots of the background and anecdotal info, after which they went away for like eight months. And we questioned, ‘Are they nonetheless gonna do that?’”

With the assistance of the household, Historica Canada did simply that.

And the ultimate reduce was met with deserving reward throughout Monday’s launch, which was attended by many metropolis officers, together with Mayor Jyoti Gondek.

“They hit it on the nostril,” stated Greg, talking on behalf of Kwong brothers Marty, Brad and Randy and their households. “It was a great, collaborative effort, however they did all of the work — they assembled every part. We simply gave all of them the data.

“My brother, Randy, and I had an opportunity to truly go and watch among the manufacturing and among the filming,” continued Greg. “And … yeah … I used to be dropped at tears in a few scenes. It was like seeing your dad at 18 years outdated. Very unusual.”

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Actor Patrick Kwok-Choon, identified for his position within the ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ tv collection, performed the younger Kwong within the venture.

“Positively difficult for the primary day, as a result of it wasn’t positive what I used to be in for,” Kwok-Choon stated. “Particularly as a result of we have been taking part in with precise ex-CFL, faculty, highschool and professional soccer gamers. And … yeah … I obtained tossed round just a little bit, and it was superb.

“By the top of the eight-hour day, not solely I however even the CFL gamers there have been beat. I went to mattress in my lodge at three o’clock within the afternoon, and I solely awoke at about 10 a.m.”

The recreation was filmed primarily locally of Ramsay and at Shouldice Athletic Park

The movie is co-produced by Brent Kawchuck and Michelle Wong of Calgary’s Danny Rocket Productions and directed by Yung Chang, of This Is Not a Film fame.

“Yung and I hadn’t heard about Normie Kwong, perhaps as a result of we’re East Coasters,” Kwok-Choon stated. “However the extra I did analysis on this half, the extra I used to be blown away by what he achieved. First Chinese language Canadian CFL participant, he received a number of championships, moved on to turn out to be proprietor of the Calgary Flames after which gave again to his neighborhood after that — and being lieutenant governor, as effectively.

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“After all, he got here from humble beginnings and confronted such a large amount of adversity — an onslaught of racism rising up. And he pushed by means of it and made one thing of himself. I feel it’s implausible. I feel it’s nice that we’re paying tribute to his life with this Heritage Minutes movie. And I’m so grateful that different Asian Canadians and different folks of color can see this illustration.”

Kwong was inducted into the Canadian Soccer Corridor of Fame in 1969 and — with 73 — stays Edmonton’s all-time chief in dashing touchdowns.

The dynamic Calgarian was additionally named to the Order of Canada in 1998.

“My dad handed away in 2016,” added Greg. “Apart from the odd name from a reporter or a narrative on the Edmonton Elks, we thought he form of light into anonymity. And then you definately get a name like this, and it’s like, ‘Wow, folks nonetheless bear in mind him.’

“To us, he was only a good father — that’s all we noticed. He’s the one which stated, ‘Keep in your lane.’”

tsaelhof@postmedia.com

http://www.x.com/ToddSaelhofPM

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