Dale Lee Kwong
Dale Lee Kwong is third-generation Canadian Chinese, born in Calgary. A graduate of Henry Wise Wood Senior High, she received a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Radio and Television from Ryerson. Dale’s first jobs in television included Promotions Writer for CFAC Television, Commercial Producer for CBC Calgary, and Community Producer for Rogers Television.
In the mid 1980s, Dale spent a year living in Nanjing, China, as a language student. She immersed herself in culture and travel, and enjoyed teaching English as a Second Language.
Dale returned to Calgary just in time to be an usher at the Saddledome during the 1988 Olympics. She witnessed Liz Manly compete and receive a silver medal. That’s also when Dale began her career as an ENG Editor in the Newsroom of Global Television; working for 7 News Directors, 3 different company owners, and adapting through format changes from analog Betacam to digital DVC-pro. She was one of two Asian employees when she was first hired, and happy to welcome others over the years. Dale hosted mahjong parties, gave dim sum & walking tours of Chinatown, and helped with Chinese pronunciations on the news. She was twice involved in projects that won RTNDA awards, honouring excellence in broadcasting. She was a founding member of the Mosaic Committee to promote diversity and inclusion in the company, and arranged Chinese lion dancers to celebrate Chinese New Year.
Dale is inspired by the example of her father, Jack Kwong, an entrepreneur and philanthropist. He founded Food-Vale Stores in Mission and Britannia, was an honourary lifetime Board of Director for the Calgary Stampeders, member of South Calgary Rotary Club, and supported many other charities. He believed in giving back both financially and through community service, his legacy continues through the Calgary Foundation. He shared his culture by hosting Chinese dinners for clients and friends.
After retiring from broadcasting in 2014, Dale has focused her attention on creative writing. She is a multi-genre writer with essays published in Somebody’s Child: Stories of Adoption, A Family By Any Other Name: Exploring Queer Relationships, and the Malahat Review. Her poetry has appeared in Canadian Literature, Modern Morsels, and The Calgary Project: A City Map in Verse and Visual. She won the CBC Calgary Poetry Face-off in 2008, and placed third nation wide.
Dale performed at Wordfest 2016, but made her acting debut at the Jubilee Auditorium in 1963. She stole the show nightly by applauding for herself at The King and I. Since then, she found herself more suited to working as a playwright; writing theatre for young adult commissions for Epcor Centre and Quest Theatre. She won the 2006 Discovery Prize in the Alberta Playwriting Competition sponsored by Alberta Playwrights’ Network for Ai Yah! Sweet and Sour Secrets. It will premiere in February 2018 at Lunchbox Theatre. She was a member of the first devised production for Third Street Theatre and often performs at The Coming Out Monologues, Coming Out in Faith Monologues, and sometimes speaks at inclusive churches.
In 2016, Dale became involved in the battle to save Calgary’s Chinatown from developers wanting exemption from the Area Redevelopment Plan. Dale is passionate about the importance of Calgary’s Chinatown and the sharing of Chinese-Canadian history. She leads a Jane’s Walk through Chinatown every May, and also offers Chinatown walking tours through I Love YYC Chinatown. The fight to save Chinatown from gentrification continues, and Dale plans to keep writing about the past and present, in hopes of shaping the future!