Kew Dock Yip was born in 1906 in Vancouver, British Columbia, to a prominent family in the local Chinese community – the 17th of 19 sons, and one of 23 children born to prominent Canadian businessman Yip Wang Sang’s four wives.
He won the Mainland Cup soccer tournament with the Chinese Students Soccer Team, and was later inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame.
After studying at Columbia University, the University of Michigan for Pharmacology), and the University of British Columbia, Yip moved to Toronto in 1940.
Although Asians were excluded from practicing law in British Columbia at the time, Yip was admitted to Osgoode Hall Law School (located next to the Regiment’s Armoury). In 1945, he became the first Canadian of Chinese descent to be called to the bar in Canada. He opened a storefront law office in Chinatown and became a pillar of the local community for 50 years, as well as a two-term Toronto School Board trustee.
In 1942 Yip joined The Queen’s Own Rifles, where he met fellow reservist and law student Irving Himel. After graduating from Osgoode Hall Law School, they formed The Committee for the Repeal of the Chinese Immigration Act in 1946. The committee was successful in their efforts, which lead to Asians-Canadians gaining the right to vote.
In 1998, he received the Law Society Medal from the Law Society of Ontario.
He died in Toronto on 2 July 2001 at the age of 94.