Norman Lim Kwong was born on the 24th of October 1929 and passed away on the 3rd of September 2016. He served as the Lieutenant-Governor of Alberta from 2005-2010 and was well regarded as one of the first Chinese-Canadian professional football players. He was dubbed the “The China Clipper” for his athletic performance and would go on to win the 1948 Grey Cup with the Calgary Stampeders. (Redmond & Snyder, pp.1) He continued to remain active in the sports community acting as a part owner of the Calgary Flames.
His legacy was built upon a great many accolades and titles. “He was named the National Chairman of the Canadian Council on Multiculturalism (1979 to 1980)”, as well as being appointed by the Queen as, “…Knight of the Order of St John of Jerusalem, the University of Calgary endowed the “Normie Kwong Bursary” in his honour, and the Canadian Embassy in Beijing named their gymnasium in his honour. The University of Alberta awarded Kwong an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 2006.” (Redmond & Snyder, pp. 4)
His passing marked a great loss to Canadian history but his story and legacy lives on.
Kwong grew up in Calgary during the 1930s and he recalls the discrimination he faced during those times.
“I always wanted to go wading in the pool there, but I wasn’t allowed because it was just for white people… There was no sign or anything; it’s just the way things were.” (Seskus, pp. 3)
His family originally immigrated from Canton, China and, like many other immigrants, owned a grocery store. He recalls his childhood as difficult,
“It was difficult being different. I was picked on at school and there were many confrontations… It wasn’t always bad. I did have a pretty good childhood, but sometimes things were tough.” (Seskus, pp. 7)
Nonetheless, he persevered and in the time since then he revitalized the Canadian Football League and presided over Canada as the first Chinese-Canadian Lieutenant-Governor of Alberta while also acting as the vice-regal representative of Alberta and receiving the title of “The Honourable”.
He is survived by his wife, children, and grandchildren.