How these ‘bright stars’ are ‘creating space for the community’ in Vancouver’s changing Chinatown

Showwei Chu, CBC radio, The Current, Feb 12, 2020

In search of connection to Chinatown, these advocates are helping build intergenerational communities.

Yuly Chan says she became a community organizer in Vancouver’s Chinatown as a way to honour her late father, an immigrant from Venezuela who was very involved with the community.

“Chinatown was a place that provided me and my family a lot of support and a sense of community as immigrants to Canada,” said Chan, 33.

In 2015, she volunteered with the Chinatown Concern Group, a seniors group that started a petition calling for a moratorium on condo developments in Chinatown and organized a city hall rally.

“It was really kind of a big turning point for the community because you’ve had this group of Chinese seniors storm city hall, and you’ve never seen that before,” she said. Read more…

Observers say Chinatown started seeing a new wave of young activists and advocates in the historic neighbourhood around the time a controversial condo proposal was being considered at 105 Keefer St. (CBC)

‘The physical legacy of struggle and sacrifice’: How Chinatown is part of Vancouver’s past — and its future

Jennifer Van Evra, CBC Radio, Feb 12, 2020

In recent decades, much of Vancouver’s Chinese community has moved to areas such as Richmond and Burnaby, which has led some to ask, “Why preserve Chinatown?”

But at a special forum hosted by The Current’s Matt Galloway at Floata Seafood Restaurant in the heart of the historic neighbourhood, prominent Vancouver entrepreneur Carol Lee argues it is an essential part of Canadian history.

“If it were any other part of Canadian history, I don’t think we would even be asking that question,” says Lee, founder of the Vancouver Chinatown Foundation, who also opened the popular Chinatown BBQ, a restaurant aimed at revitalizing the neighbourhood through food. Read more

The Current’s Matt Galloway explores Vancouver’s Chinatown with historian Judi Lam Maxwell. (Andrew Nguyen/CBC )

Watch This Brilliantly Fictitious Account of One of Restaurant Culture’s Greatest Inventions

By Andrew Morrison Aug 26, 2019

Last week I openly pined for more Lazy Susans in Vancouver’s restaurant scene. I just love the things and wish they were more common. While the convenient turntable-on-table’s origins are a matter of the historical record, I much prefer this fantastical take by filmmakers Ian Kibbey and Corey Creasey. They tell a much different (and better) story.

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The yum cha rules you need to know

Karen Chiang, BBC Travel, 28 February 2019

As a born and bred Hong-Konger, going to yum cha with my family every Sunday is an important tradition that has lasted many generations. Here, stories old and new are recounted over a table full of bamboo baskets that hold a variety of dim sum – small bites that encompass everything from delicately translucent prawn dumplings and silky rice rolls to molten lava custard buns and sweet roasted pork buns.

Literally meaning ‘drink tea’ in Cantonese, yum cha is as common a meal in Hong Kong as coffee and toast in Western culture, where Chinese tea is enjoyed with dim sum at traditional tea houses. Dating back to ancient China, teahouses have long been a place of rest and conversations for the common people. Read more…

Yum cha is as common a meal in Hong Kong as coffee and toast in Western culture (Credit: Karen Chiang)

The politics of banning shark fin in Vancouver

Mike Howell, Vancouver Courier, MAY 7, 2019

Remember that day long ago when then-city councillor Kerry Jang stood up in the council chamber with two packages of shark fin in his hands?

Maybe you don’t.

I do because I happened to be there. Something about working for a living. It was September 2012.

The packages belonged to Jang’s mother and were purchased more than 40 years ago. Their original price was $14 each. Apparently, the fin is now worth several hundred dollars. Read more…

The City of Vancouver is waiting to see whether a bill will be passed in Ottawa to ban shark fin before considering a Vancouver-only ban on the Asian delicacy. File photo Dan Toulgoet

Koi fish return to Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

CBC News, May 09, 2019

Ornamental fish will return to the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden on Thursday morning, after being removed last year when a river otter entered the garden pond and killed 11 of the fish.

The Vancouver Park Board says several younger koi have already been returned to the pond, as well as adult fish donated by the Nitobe Memorial Graden at the University of British Columbia and a private collector. Read more…

Koi swim in a tank at the Vancouver Aquarium in December 2018 after being removed from the pond. (Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden/Twitter)

Wayson Choy, 80, Whose Books Are Windows on Chinese-Canadian Life, Dies

Daniel E. Slotnik, The New York Times, May 3, 2019

Wayson Choy, who wrote of the Chinese-Canadian experience in memoirs and novels like “The Jade Peony,” which became a mainstay in Canadian classrooms and led to a revelation about the writer’s own past, died on April 28 at his home in Toronto. He was 80.

Denise Bukowski, Mr. Choy’s agent, said the cause was a heart attack brought on by an asthma attack. He had nearly died from heart attacks related to asthma in the past, episodes he wrote about in “Not Yet: A Memoir of Living and Almost Dying” (2009).

“The Jade Peony,” his debut novel, published in 1995, when he was 56, was one of the first to detail life in a Chinese-Canadian community. It follows a Chinese immigrant family in Vancouver in the 1930s and ’40s as they struggle to make a home in a sometimes hostile country, drawing what support they can from shared traditions, community and folklore. Read more…

“The Jade Peony,” published in 1995, was one of the first to detail the Chinese immigrant experience in Canada. It has become a mainstay in Canadian classrooms.CreditDouglas and McIntyre

Luck, love, life: Beloved author Wayson Choy had always lived to perfect his stories, again and again

ANTANAS SILEIKA, THE GLOBE AND MAIL, APRIL 30, 2019

Wayson Choy and I were both English teachers at Humber College in Toronto when he published his first book, The Jade Peony, in 1995. He was 56 at the time, a late-breaking author. I had published my own first book the year before and I said to him over lunch in the staff dining room, “Enjoy the attention, Wayson. It doesn’t last.”

The book, about a gay boy growing up in Vancouver’s Chinatown of the thirties and forties, went on to be a bestseller for 26 weeks and shared a Trillium Award with Margaret Atwood. If Chinatown was practically invisible in the Canadian consciousness at the time, a gay boy in such a setting was a revelation of a reality too long ignored. He later received many more honours, including a Giller nomination and the Order of Canada. Read more…

Author Wayson Choy in the Random House Publishing office on April 1, 2009. JENNIFER ROBERTS/THE GLOBE AND MAIL