Memorable Manitobans: Winifred Mar “Winnie” Paktong (1912-2013)
Born at Winnipeg on 30 May 1912, daughter of affluent Winnipeg General Hospital chef Mar Joe and his wife See Chew, Winnie is said to have been the first Chinese Canadian girl born in the city, named for her birthplace. The second eldest of Mar Joe’s five children, her mother died shortly after the birth of her second brother, George, and when she was one and a half years old.
In November 1936, Mar Joe retired as a chef and with his family returned to live in Hong Kong. Here Winnie had an arranged marriage and followed her husband to Vietnam where they raised five children. It was an unhappy marriage and before the Vietnam war, she asked for a divorce, leaving her husband returning to Canada with two of their children. In Winnipeg, Winnie reunited with childhood sweetheart Louis Paktong (1906-1990) and the two married in 1969.
She died on 13 August 2013 a few months after her 101st birthday.
Birth registration [Winifred Jessie Maryock], Manitoba Vital Statistics.
“Chinese society farewells members,” Winnipeg Free Press, 30 October 1936, page 2.
Obituary [Louis Paktong], Winnipeg Free Press, 8 May 1990, page 43.
Alison R. Marshall interview [Solange Liang], 2009.
Alison R. Marshall interview [Jacque Mar], 2011.
Jade Wang, “Winnie Paktong” In Winnipeg's Centennial Celebrations, Patrick Choy, ed., Winnipeg Chinatown: Celebrating 100 Years A Remarkable Achievement China, Winnipeg Chinese Cultural and Community Centre, 2011.
Cultivating Connections: The Making of Chinese Prairie Canada by Alison R. Marshall. Vancouver, BC: UBC Presss, 2014.
Page revised: 7 August 2022