When CDNIS was incorporated in March 1991, it was little known to the outside world. The Foundation had to take various actions to promote CDNIS to the world. Some activities highlighted in this chapter were conducted for that purpose.
In July 1991, a group of Canadian climbers planned to ascend Mount Everest to raise funds for the Canadian Rett Syndrome Association. On the way to Mount Everest, the climbers visited Hong Kong and were invited to “scale” the 6-storey building of CDNIS at no.7 Eastern Hospital Road to raise a Canadian flag on top of the building as a symbol of the formal establishment of CDNIS.
A reception was held in a restaurant at Elizabeth House through the connection of Fred Kan and Spencer Lee, and the press was invited, with the help of the Commission for Canada, to attend the reception and the climb of the campus for publicity of CDNIS. The event was cosponsored by CCA and CDNIS.
On October 5, 1993, CCA organized a dinner to honor the Founding Board of Governors of CDNIS at the Jockey Club to express its thanks and gratitude for the time and efforts the Founding Governors contributed towards the establishment of CDNIS since 1991.
It was attended by approximately 100 persons including the Commission for Canada, the Founding Governors, the past and present Board members and staff of CDNIS and CCA members.
Neil Johnston, then Principal and a member of CCA, acted as Master of Ceremony for the occasion. The Organizing Committee, headed by Dennis Chan, also included Kenny Tam, Raymond Chong, Caroline Lai, Anita Au and Emma Wong and the secretary of CDNIS, Brenda Heward.
In April 1994, then Governor General of Canada, Mr. Ramon Hnatyshyn, visited Hong Kong.
The Commission for Canada commissioned CCA to organize a welcome reception dinner. The organizing committee consisted of Maria Mui, Spencer Lee, Kenny Tam, Mary-Jean Wong and Albert Wang. The dinner was held at Parkview Club, Parkview, with the participation of 17 Alumni Associations of Canadian Universities, the Commission for Canada and major officials of all the tertiary educators of Hong Kong and selected guests. The main theme was to promote Canadian education with the specific mission to introduce potential donors to CDNIS for future fund-raising purposes.
Inter-cultural Exchange Program
For three summers from 1994 to 1996, CDNIS and CCA jointly sponsored and planned an inter-cultural exchange program under which students from Hong Kong were sent to Canada (in 1994) and students from provinces across Canada were brought to Hong Kong (in 1995 and 1996) for a unique exchange experience.
School boards from across Canada were informed of the program and students were invited to compete as candidates to visit Hong Kong. It was a unique way to help CDNIS’ exposure to school boards across Canada. The funding of this program was provided entirely by the donation of a CCA sponsor.
In 1996, twelve students from Canada, representing seven provinces including British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland, visited Hong Kong and Beijing and came to learn about Hong Kong and China.
They spent part of their time as teaching assistants of the summer programs of CDNIS and local families played hosts for one or two students for one or two weeks.
The Program served to expose CDNIS and enhance its standing in Canada and build the bridges between those students and their counterparts in Hong Kong and China through joint functions, seminars, sports competitions and barbecues. An important element of the program was the part played by the host families as the teenagers were able to learn about the Chinese (or Hong Kong) culture in the most intimate way.
In 1993, CDNIS was searching for a site to build its campus. By July 1993, Lands Department offered a piece of virgin land on Nam Long Shan Road to CDNIS to build its campus.
The adjoining piece of land downhill from the site was also virgin. Thoughts started to germinate to acquire the adjoining land so as to improve traffic access for students to and from the lower road and secure the fantastic view of the future campus permanently.
The concept of a Canadian Community Center was born. The idea was to build the center on the adjoining site for sports and cultural activities bearing a strong tie to Canadian culture.
It could also provide facilities for use by CDNIS as well and the Center could be a gathering place for the Canadian community in Hong Kong, raise the social and national profile of all Canadians in Hong Kong and generate income for CDNIS.
The project was actively pursued by a working group composed of governors from CDNIS, representatives for CCA, the Chamber, Canadian Club, the Commission for Canada and Canadian Universities Alumni Association but was subsequently aborted.