The first Chinese man to settle in Edmonton, Chung Kee, arrived by stagecoach from Calgary in 1890, to open a laundry. By 1899, there were over a dozen Chinese men living in Edmonton. As the community grew, a small settlement with several businesses was established at the intersection of Namayo Street ( 97 Street) and Rice Street (101A Avenue).
By 1911, there were over 150 Chinese people living in Chinatown, and by 1920 the number had risen to over 500. The population was made up almost entirely of men, who had come to Canada to work on the railroad.
In 1913, Chinese residents formed a military unit called the “Dare to Die Brigade” to go to China and support Sun Yat Sen’s revolution, but Sun fled to Japan before the brigade departed Edmonton. The unit also volunteered to server in Europe in WW I, but the were turned down.