6 October 2012

Vancouver polygamy

I've had a few people ask me if I thought that there were polygamists living in any of the cities I've lived in recently: Edmonton, Vancouver, and Victoria. I don't know Victoria enough to say one way or another, but I can definitely say that there are polygamists in Edmonton--though I'll leave that to another post.

Polyamory is alive and well in Vancouver--they even have their own website, but polygamy I'm less certain about, though my hunch is that yes, it is being practiced there. Why not? A prominent member of the Chinese community was an open polygamist a century ago:

The original [Wing Sang] building, a two-storey Victorian Italianate structure went up in 1889, back when the population of Vancouver was around 15,000 and extremely hostile towards the Chinese. Yip Sang operated an import/export business, a bank and a travel agency and sold everything from Chinese silks and curios to opium—which was legal until 1908. He added a third storey in 1901, and in 1912, a six-storey building went up across the alley connected by an elevated passageway to include a warehouse, a meeting place, and a floor for each of his three wives and their 23 children.

You can read more about the Wing Sang Building here.

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