Arlene Photograph


I was born, raised and educated in Toronto, Canada. After obtaining an undergraduate degree in English and Psychology at the University of Toronto, I graduated with a master’s degree in library sciences. My career as a librarian started at the North York Board of Education and ended at the Toronto Public Library where I spent 30 years in progressively advanced positions.

My writing career was launched in 1997 with The Spirit of the Dragon: the Story of Jean Lumb, a Proud Chinese Canadian. This children’s book tells the amazing story of my mother who was the first Chinese Canadian to receive the Order of Canada, the highest civilian honour, for her community activism. The Spirit of the Dragon was selected as a Choice Book by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre. My second book, The Moon Festival: a Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, was shortlisted for the Silver Birch Award. Awakening the Dragon: the Dragon Boat Festival was published in 2004 and as a paperback in 2007. Paddles Up! was released in 2009 as the first book on the sport of dragon boating in Canada. The Chinese in Toronto from 1878: From Outside to Inside the Circle was published in 2011. The Chinese Community in Toronto: Then and Now will be released in 2013. My work-in-progress is a pictorial book about the head tax and Chinese Exclusion Act.

My passion for dragon boating started in the auspicious Year of the Dragon (2000) when I was gathering research for Awakening the Dragon. Since then, I’ve competed locally, as well as internationally at the 2010 Club Crew World Championship in Macau, China, the 2011 World Dragon Boat Racing Championship in Tampa, Florida, and the 2013 World Dragon Boat Racing Championship in Hungary.

I am currently serving as the President of the Jean Lumb Foundation and an Appointee to the Ontario Medal for Young Volunteers Advisory Council, Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration.

"Arlene lives in Toronto with her husband. During the summer, she can often be seen paddling a dragon boat on Lake Ontario."