The Korean Community in Calgary
The first wave of immigrants from Korean arrived to Calgary in the 1960’s. One of the earliest immigrants was the late Dr. Chang Young Kim, Professor of Physics at the University of Calgary. Dr. Kim and his family provided help for new Korean immigrants. His home became a community centre of sorts for newcomers.
In 1968, Dr. Kim and early Korean immigrants founded the Calgary Korean Association (CKA), which will celebrate its 50th anniversary on August 19, 2017 at the annual Calgary Korean Day festival. The CKA represents about 15,000 Koreans living in and around Calgary, providing support for established and new Korean Canadians as well as awareness, appreciation and understanding of Korean culture for the general public. As an umbrella organization, it collaborates with other Calgary groups such as the Calgary Korean Seniors Association, the Calgary Korean Cultural Centre, the Calgary Korean Lions Club, the Korean Canadian Businessmen’s Association, Calgary Korean Scholarship Foundation, Calgary Korean Art Club, and Calgary Korean Performing Arts Society.
In 2010, the CKA moved from a small converted house at 17th Avenue and 30th Street SW to its current location at 7008 Farrell Road SE, Calgary.
A milestone moment for the Calgary Korean community was the establishment of the Calgary Korean Scholarship Foundation (CKSF) in 2008. The CKSF was founded to provide financial and moral support to hardworking, high-achieving and promising young Korean-Canadian and non-Korean Canadian students. The foundation recognizes and encourages students who dedicate their skills, knowledge and services to the community, to allow aspiring young students to achieve their full potential. In the last 10 years, the CKSF awarded 280 scholarships to students and others through scholarships awarded in conjunction with the University of Calgary.
In 1992, Korean immigrants established the Calgary Korean Cultural Centre to promote cultural exchange between Korean-Canadians and other interested Canadians and to raise funds to purchase or build a future cultural centre. Currently, the centre offers various classes teaching cultural topics. Today, twelve classes are in operation, and more than 100 people have joined. Day by day, the classes are growing in popularity. Current classes include ESL, K-pop dance class, art and drawing class, ukulele class, guitar class and others. In the future, the school will provide an increasingly varied mix of programs such as Spanish Language, Chinese Language, and other classes. The centre plans to find talented lecturers, provide summer camps for residents, and host regular shows by various Korean musicians and performance groups. The centre’s dream is to develop into an organization that can enjoy, share and educate with other multi-ethnic, non-Korean groups.
The Korean Canadian Businessmen’s Association (KCBA) was founded in 1978 as a non-profit organization by Korean businessmen. The KCBA was formed with support from businesspeople from South of Red Deer to the US border, to uphold their rights and to promote their status, solidarity and friendship.
Currently there are about 200 members. The KCBA supplies goods to members at a preferential price by contracting with various suppliers and helps members to better communicate with suppliers. The KCBA offers seminars, business fairs, publishes brochures and business news, thus enhancing communication and information exchange among its members. Besides member activities, the KCBA has made contributions for the betterment of the Calgary Korean community, such as participating in scholarship fundraising, hosting a charity luncheon and recreation for isolated seniors, and hosting golf tournament for Calgary Korean community.
Through its many centres, programs, and services for all generations, the Korean community in Calgary has grown significantly in the past 50 years. It has demonstrated great commitment to supporting the diverse interests and needs of its members and, with its unique Korean hospitality style, has made positive contributions to sharing its cultural heritage and contributions with the broader Calgary community.