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While relations between Canada's West Coast and Asia were established during the age of exploration and the fur trade, the first real movement of people from Asia to Canada did not occur until the late 19th century.
Drawn by the gold rushes and opportunities to work on the railways or in the mines, the first immigrants from China, Japan and South Asia were not always welcomed by the predominantly Anglo-British society in Canada. The meeting of cultures posed difficult challenges for both the newcomers and for the white society, which responded with discriminatory and racist measures.