New Heritage Minute to tell the story of Norman Kwong, the first Chinese Canadian player in the CFL
TORONTO, Aug. 21, 2023 - Historica Canada, maker of the Heritage Minutes, is pleased to announce a coming Minute to be released in 2024 on Norman Kwong, the first Chinese Canadian professional football player and later lieutenant-governor of Alberta, his place of birth.
Mr. Kwong, who grew up at a time when racism against Asian people was relatively commonplace and, in some instances, sanctioned by law, played for Edmonton and Calgary in the Canadian Football League from 1948 to 1960. At the time of his retirement from the sport he had played in seven Grey Cups and won four and set more than 30 league records in his career. In his life after football, he became a successful business executive, was president and general manager of the Calgary Stampeders (1988-92), and part owner of the Calgary Flames when the team won a Stanley Cup in 1989. He became the first Chinese Canadian to serve as lieutenant-governor of Alberta when he was appointed in 2005. He died in 2016 in Calgary.
"Norman Kwong was a great Canadian by any measure – all the more so because of the specific challenges due to his race that he transcended," said Anthony Wilson-Smith, President and CEO of Historica Canada. "Our Minutes focus on people and events that helped shape our country into what it is today. In the most positive ways, he did precisely that."
The Minute, also the first about the CFL, will be produced by Calgary's Danny Rockett Productions, with owner Brent Kawchuk and Michelle Wong serving as co-producers. It will be directed by Yung Chan, whose award-winning short Gatekeeper qualified for the 2016 Oscars. His feature documentary This is not a Movie premiered at TIFF in 2019. The Minute will be shot in Kwong's home province of Alberta.
Said Yung Chang: 'It's a great honour to be directing Norman Kwong's Heritage Minute. It makes a difference when we can find semblance in ourselves and our own upbringings through stories of Canadian heroism and perseverance not usually told. I can't wait to share Normie's story with my children who, beyond fictional superheroes, will also see themselves reflected back through historic heroes like Norman Kwong.'
Shooting is expected to take place in October 2023 and the target date for release of the Minute is February 2024.
The Heritage Minutes are made possible through funding from the Department of Canadian Heritage. Historica Canada is a charitable organization that offers programs in both official languages that you can use to explore, learn, reflect on our history, and consider what it means to be Canadian. The Heritage Minutes collection is a bilingual Canadian series comprised of 60-second short films, each depicting a significant person, event or story in Canadian history.