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Citizen Ambassador Helps Put City on Taiji Map

What do you get when you cross an accomplished chef, a Tai Chi Master and an effervescent citizen ambassador with an entrepreneur? Peng Youlian.

After he and his wife Su Jing immigrated to Canada from China in 1990, Peng’s dream of opening a restaurant, having a family and teaching Taiji came true.

“To me, Thunder Bay is heaven on earth,” says Peng Youlian, President of the Peng You Taijiquan Association, Chairman of the Thunder Bay International Tai Chi Festival, and the Chief Taiji Instructor of the Thunder Bay 55 Plus

Peng You leads a group of Taijiquan enthusiasts at Marina Park
Peng You leads a group of Taijiquan enthusiasts at Marina Park 
Centre. “I feel so lucky to live here; to be accepted here. The environment is beautiful, it’s a great place to raise a family and there is such strong community spirit. I feel it is important for me to tell the world that.”

Peng is perhaps Canada’s best known Taiji Master and is responsible for the sport’s evergrowing popularity in Thunder Bay. He was the driving force behind our city playing host to the second ever International Forum on Taijiquan in 2006. The Forum brought together for the first time in North America, seven of the top Grandmasters of the traditional Chinese Family Schools and the Modern School of Taijiquan plus over 1,000 delegates from China, Japan, Sweden, England, Mexico, the United States and Canada.

Peng’s enthusiasm has enticed many people to visit since making this his new hometown and has helped Thunder Bay earn its reputation as one of the best places on earth to practice Taiji.

Peng operated his own restaurant for 17 years which he recently sold to make time to develop Peng You Enterprises. On the menu at his new company is economic development liaising between Thunder Bay and China, cultural services and language translation, and importing and exporting goods. He is also marketing himself as ‘The Taiji Chef’ which combines Taiji and healthy Chinese cooking for demonstrations to individuals and groups.

“There are so many opportunities and potential to develop dreams here,” continues Peng. “With patience, hard work and 100% effort you can do anything.”

He received the 2001 Chinese Canadian Entrepreneur of the Year award and the 2002 Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce ‘Ambassador Award’.