City of Vancouver to pursue UNESCO World Heritage Site designation for Chinatown

Kenneth Chan, on November 1st, 2017

Vancouver City Council has unanimously approved a plan that will direct staff to initiate a process to pursue a UNESCO World Heritage Site designation for Vancouver’s Chinatown district.

The desire for the prestigious designation is one of the approved steps outlined in a reconciliation report that addresses the discrimination experienced by early Chinese Canadians in Vancouver.

In its World Heritage Site program, UNESCO – short for the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization – selects landmarks or areas that have a cultural or historical significance, and such sites are legally protected by international treaties once formally designated. Read more…

Patti Bacchus: Renaming Crosstown elementary a chance for Vancouver School Board to do the right thing

Patti Bacchus on January 25th, 2018

Crosstown is a fine name for a bus route or a low-rent strip mall, or perhaps a condo complex built on formerly vacant suburban land. But it’s a bland and meaningless moniker for a school built on the edge of Vancouver’s historic Chinatown, in a vibrant urban community with a rich and fascinating history.

It’s a gentrification name that obliterates the past in a misguided gesture toward a shiny new future—a rebranding that paves over the lives, contributions, and tribulations of those who came before. A building that’s dedicated to the education of present and future generations of Vancouver children deserves something better. Read more…

City of Vancouver to pursue UNESCO World Heritage Site designation for Chinatown

Kenneth ChanNov 01, 2017

Vancouver City Council has unanimously approved a plan that will direct staff to initiate a process to pursue a UNESCO World Heritage Site designation for Vancouver’s Chinatown district.

The desire for the prestigious designation is one of the approved steps outlined in a reconciliation report that addresses the discrimination experienced by early Chinese Canadians in Vancouver.

In its World Heritage Site program, UNESCO – short for the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization – selects landmarks or areas that have a cultural or historical significance, and such sites are legally protected by international treaties once formally designated. Read more…

The gateway into Vancouver Chinatown. (Shutterstock)

Beedie decision reveals times have changed in Vancouver

Allen Garr, NOVEMBER 16 2017

“I was wrong.” That uncommon confession slipped from the lips of Vancouver developer and Courier columnist Michael Geller. At that exact moment, he and I were sitting cheek by jowl at last week’s development permit board hearing on Beedie Development’s fifth revision in the past four years of a proposal for 105 Keefer St. in Chinatown.

Moments after the city’s real estate guy Bill Aujla explained that, after months of negotiations, Beedie was unwilling to either sell or swap this piece of property, Geller picked up his phone and sent out a tweet: “This will pass.” Although, he added, there may be some minor modifications. Read more…

rotesters gathered at city hall to voice their concerns over a nine-storey condo proposal for Chinatown that, in the end, was rejected by the city’s development permit board in a 2-1 vote. Photo Dan Toulgoet

Vancouver searches for ways to preserve ‘legacy’ businesses in Chinatown, other areas

FRANCES BULA, DECEMBER 10, 2017

The Gain Wah restaurant in Vancouver’s Chinatown is small and unremarkable from the outside, with its battered red canopy covered with yellow Chinese characters.

But Andrew Leung and his wife make their barbecue pork the old-fashioned way – marinated overnight. And they hand-cut the pork for their wontons, the way they’ve always done it at this restaurant since it opened in 1981.

The Gain Wah is the kind of business that Vancouver planners are looking at these days in an effort to figure out how to support and preserve what are being called “legacy” businesses, starting with Chinatown but eventually in other parts of the city. Read more…

The Gain Wah Restaurant in Vancouver’s Chinatown, as photographed on Dec. 10, 2017. RAFAL GERSZAK/RAFAL GERSZAK

Opinion: Vancouver’s Chinatown and redrawing the lines in the ‘City of Optimists’

Andy Yang, Vancouver Sun,June 26, 2017

In the reverberations following the 105 Keefer St. rezoning rejection, the hearings lay bare the painful realities of city life in Vancouver. Amongst the gleaming towers and $6 lattes, life for many Vancouverites is increasingly vicious, indifferent and cruel. The public hearing became a sign of the growing frustrations and shortcomings of civic governance.
However, 105 Keefer offers lessons from which a person could even develop a sense of optimism.
What can be learned? Read more…

Opponents of the Keefer Street rezoning celebrate City Hall’s decision not to let a tower be built in Chinatown. ARLEN REDEKOP / PNG

Growing Up Chinese Canadian: A Century of Stories

By Christopher Cheung, Jul 3 2017 | TheTyee.ca

“You’re so Asian!”
“You’re so white-washed!”
Natalie Poon remembers hearing this a lot in her Chinese Canadian peer group when she started high school a decade ago in Richmond, a city bordering Vancouver. Whether you find this language funny or offensive, Poon and her peers consider it an easy way to talk about cultural differences. “That’s just how we talked,” she said. “It’s not meant to be discriminatory.” Read more…

Natalie Poon, age 4, practising her alphabet on one of many plane rides she took during her childhood between Richmond and Hong Kong. Photo by Christopher Cheung.

Photos: Vancouver releases concept plans for post-viaduct False Creek

SCOTT BROWN, Vancouver Sun, June 6, 2017

The City of Vancouver and Vancouver Park Board have revealed conceptual plans for the future of Northeast False Creek, including a new park and the removal of viaducts.
In 2015, Vancouver City Council approved a $200-million plan to remove the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts, which connect False Creek with downtown Vancouver. Read more…

Museum, shops and seniors’ housing: The 105 Keefer that might have been

Jen St. Denis, Metro, Jun 14 2017

Council’s decision to turn down an application to build a 12-storey condo in the heart of Chinatown has some thinking about what could be, although the fate of the site is still very much up in the air.“There was a site that had been vacant for a long time and it was the last large, vacant site left in the community,” said Nathan Edelson, a former Vancouver city planner who worked with the late architect Joe Wai on an alternate vision for the site at 105 Keefer St. Read more…

Beedie Living’s proposal to build a 12-storey condo at 105 Keefer St. (currently a parking lot) was denied by council on June 13.

Canada 150: Yip Sang, the unofficial mayor of Chinatown

JOHN MACKIE, Vancouver Sun, June 13, 2017

You can’t overstate Yip Sang’s importance to Vancouver’s Chinatown. Working as the superintendent for the Kwong On Wo company in the 1880s, he imported 6,000 to 7,000 Chinese labourers to work on the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Yip Sang held several positions: bookkeeper, timekeeper and paymaster. Legend has it he used to pay the Chinese CPR workers by riding his horse to the Chinese campsites carrying a sack of money, and a gun, just in case. Read more…

A 1916 photo of Yip Sang, middle, with some of his 24 children and grandchildren. HANDOUT