Local History Advent Calendar 2018 – Day 18 – Jennie Wong

When I am researching one topic I often come across random historical tidbits that I think might be interesting to research one day.  These tidbits sometimes end up as full-fledged stories and sometimes they just stay as random historical tidbits.  I have collected quite a few, so I thought it might be fun to present them in the form of “treats” for a local history advent calendar. Think of them as holiday cocktail party fodder – 24 facts about Vancouver history that can be used as conversation starters at your next social event.

Day 18: Vancouver’s Jennie Wong was the first female and first Chinese-Canadian disc jockey in Canada…

Teen Town Talk column in The Vancouver Sun, May 1948.

In 1948 Jennie Wong was one of three finalists in the CKWX-Teen Aid Disc Jockey Contest. The contest was co-sponsored by The Vancouver Sun’s Teen Town Association where Jennie was an active member of the Chinese Y Canteen. Each of the three finalists had their audition tapes sent to a panel of judges consisting of Freddie Robbins, a New York City disc jockey, crooner Frank Sinatra, and orchestra leader Claude Thornhill.  Though she was ranked #3, Jennie was given a half-hour Saturday afternoon program on CKMO that she called “Jennie’s Juke Joint”. On her program, Jennie would introduce the popular music of the day made by artists like Frank Sinatra (her favourite), Kay Starr, Bing Crosby, and Nat King Cole. This made 17-year-old Jennie Wong the first female and first Chinese-Canadian DJ in Canada.

Jennie (Jenne) Wong’s column in Teen Town Talk, The Vancouver Sun, June 1948.

Jennie was the older sister of local author Larry Wong. After she married in 1950 and moved from Vancouver, Jennie worked for CBC Edmonton for a time and then later started her own business doing theatrical and television make-up in Edmonton. Jennie died in Edmonton in 2011 at age 79.


Georgia Auditorium

Happy 2014! After a bit of a break over the holidays from Vanalogue, I’m ready to get back into the swing of things. I am looking forward to celebrating all things analogue in 2014. The first post of 2014, features a little known performance venue from Vancouver’s recent past – The Georgia Auditorium.

Neon sign from the Georgia Auditorium. Still taken from moving image CBUT news footage (1959).
Neon sign from the Georgia Auditorium. Still taken from CBUT news footage (1959). Photo: C. Hagemoen.

Working as a volunteer for the City of Vancouver Archives affords me the opportunity to be constantly surprised by new facets of Vancouver History. One recent example of this happened while I was working on a card catalogue/database project for the Archives’ pamphlet collection. As I was making my way through my assigned drawer, I came across a series of references to a Georgia Auditorium under the subject heading: Famous Artists Ltd. [a live entertainment production company]. I had never heard of this venue before. The following reference in particular intrigued me…

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