HOF085: Nguyen Thanh Thuy

Community volunteer, singer and broadcaster Nguyen Thanh Thuy, known to Toronto Vietnamese expats as Ai Ly, left Vietnam with her husband and his family. They were ethnic Chinese, forced to walk away from their businesses and leave the country in 1979, when Vietnam was at war with China. They had boarded a boat with 480 passengers. The boat’s engine failed and it drifted aimlessly for 14 or 15 days, during which time they endured over a dozen pirate attacks.

Eventually settling in Toronto, Nguyen and her husband tried to set up businesses to provide for their young family, including a bridal business, a brewing company and an orthotic clinic, among others. She is also a Co-Founder of Vietnamese Canadian Helping Hands, an organization that encourages the Vietnamese community to donate and support the healthcare system in Canada.