Glimpses into Chinese Immigration in Canada The New Republic & The World Journal Vancouver Newspapers

The Founder Ko Bong and His Family

Simon Ko Bong and four children

Simon Ko Bong 1880 - 1957, George Bong Simon, Chinese name (高榜 or高云山) was born in Kwang Tung Province China and arrived in Victoria at the age of sixteen in 1896. He was a successful businessman who opened GB Simon Watchmaker and Jeweller in 1907, in Victoria, B.C. He was a prominent leader in the local Chinese Canadian community.

Tongmenghui (translated as Chinese United League or Chinese Revolutionary Alliance) was a secret political society funded by Dr. Sun Yet-sen and his revolutionary followers in Tokyo, Japan in 1905.

In 1911 Dr. Sun Yat-sen visited Canada establishing Tongmenghui branches in Victoria and Vancouver, Simon Ko Bong "founded" the "Chung Kuo Tung Meng Hui" branch in Victoria, along with Wang Cang and Li Gongwu (an early editor of The New Republic newspaper), and became the branch head. Simon Ko Bong and his partners Walter Lee and Wong Bark Du founded The New Republic firstly as a newsletter in 1911, printed on hand cut stencils, published on an irregular basis, With the acquisition of a modern printing press in 1914 it became a daily news source. The newspaper used to have a circulation of 3500 recipients between B.C. Saskatchewan and Manitoba, with correspondents in Hong Kong, New York and San Francisco.

He played an active role in running the newspaper and other Tungmenghui businesses. He had a strong sensibility toward contributing to a better China.

In 1926 Simon Ko Bong moved to Vancouver and established 2 additional stores - GB Simon Jewellers and GB Simon Sporting Goods.

Simon Ko Bong had ten children: Mathew, Mark, Luke, John, Mable, Ruby, Mary, Peter, Andrew, and Garnet.

His sense of community responsibility is seen in his offspring. Four of his children enlisted in the Canadian Army during WW II. John Ko Bong (SGT), Mary Ko Bong (PVT), Peter Ko Bong (SAPPER), Andrew Ko Bong (LCPL). This was followed by 2 of Simon Ko Bong's grandchildren serving in the Canadian Armed Forces; Valerie Ko (CPO2), Russell Ko (LCDR) both children of Mathew Ko. 2 Great Grandchildren served or are serving, Randy Ko (Master Seaman) son of Valerie and Daniel Ko (LCDR) son of Russell.

Simon Ko Bong passed away in 1957 in Vancouver BC and is buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Burnaby.

Please click here to see more photos from the family of Simon Ko Bong.

The text was revised by Randy Ko based on the information provided by the other Ko family members.

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