MEDIA

Commercial Real Estate: Lobbying to save Chinatown’s heritage

EVAN DUGGAN, The Province, December 19, 2017

Melody Ma retraces the steps she initially took about two years ago through Vancouver’s Chinatown.

The twenty-something freelance web developer and Chinatown activist remembers seeing a construction pit at Gore and East Hastings on that walk.

“There used to be all of these interesting mom-and-pop Chinese retailers occupying that building,” she told Postmedia on a similar stroll through Chinatown in mid-December. “I was thinking to myself that my childhood has literally become a construction pit,” she said, noting the new building lies just outside the Chinatown plan area boundaries, but nonetheless represents changes elsewhere in the neighbourhood. Read more…

Meloday Ma has been a major opponent of the 105 Keefer project in Chinatown. / VANCOUVER SUN

How to Celebrate Chinese New Year in Honolulu Like You’re Really Chinese

DIANE LEE, 2018.02.05

Most people celebrate the new year on Jan. 1. My traditional Chinese family doesn’t officially celebrate the new year until February, when Chinese New Year rolls around (this year it falls on Feb. 16). As a second-generation Chinese-American, Chinese New Year is a huge deal for my family. It’s right up there with celebrating a birthday, wedding or anniversary. This monthlong celebration takes a lot of planning and preparation. Expect to go grocery shopping, cook Chinese dishes and clean house to usher in a healthy, prosperous new year. Read more…

PHOTO: THINKSTOCK

Andy Yan, the analyst who exposed Vancouver’s real estate disaster

Terry Glavin, Feb 14, 2018

Andy Yan is a 42-year-old East Vancouverite who came up out of the proud working class ranks of Van Tech high school, toiling on weekends in the kill tank at the old Hallmark Poultry Factory on Clark Drive. He set out on a career in urban regeneration and applied demographics that took him to projects in New Orleans, New York City and San Francisco.

Nowadays he’s the director of the City Program at Simon Fraser University, and while he’s too modest to boast about it, along the way he’s picked up a couple of exceedingly rare civic distinctions. Read more…

Calgarian Larry Kwong, first Chinese-Canadian player in NHL, dies at age 94

ZACH LAING, March 19, 2018

A trail-blazing athlete known as “King Kwong” to his followers, Larry Kwong broke barriers as the first person of Chinese heritage to play in the National Hockey League.

Kwong died in his Calgary home last Thursday, according to his family. He was 94.

He played his first and only NHL game with the New York Rangers on March 13, 1948, against the Montreal Canadiens at the Forum — although Kwong wasn’t given much more than a minute on the ice. Read more…

Larry Kwong, who played in one NHL game for the New York Rangers in 1948, died at his Calgary home on March 15, 2018. He was 94 years old. SUPPLIED

Chinatown business group cancels 2018 Night Market to protest ‘neglect’ by city

CHERISE SEUCHARAN, StarMetro, April 29, 2018

VANCOUVER — The Vancouver Chinatown Merchants Association (VCMA) has cancelled this year’s Night Market to protest what it calls the city’s “neglect of Chinatown’s merchants.”

The group alleges that the city is pandering to “anti-development” social housing activists who dont’ have a real stake in the historic neighbourhood.

In news conference held with the Vancouver Chinatown Business Improvement Area Society (VCBIA), the merchants’ group said it was concerned about Vancouver’s development policy update for the area, calling the plan “detrimental” to the success of the neighbourhood. Read more…

The Vancouver Chinatown Merchants Association has announced they will be cancelling this summer’s Chinatown Night Market. The annual event, pictured here in 2013, attracts thousands of visitors to the neighbourhood. ( HELEN ANDERS)

‘Last second’ email on planning shocks, dismays Chinatown advocates

JOHN MACKIE, Vancouver Sun, April 26, 2018

On Sunday, Mayor Gregor Robertson delivered a formal apology to Vancouver’s Chinese residents for the city’s historical discrimination.

But even as Robertson spoke, a new controversy was erupting in Chinatown over the redevelopment of the historic neighbourhood.

Late Friday afternoon, the city sent out an email that recommended several changes to a Chinatown Planning Update that the city had released in March. Read more…

Historic buildings in the 100 block East Pender in Vancouver’s Chinatown. GERRY KAHRMANN / PNG

Vancouver council to apologize for historical discrimination against Chinese

Mike Howell, Vancouver Courier, MARCH 22, 2018

City council will hold a special meeting April 22 in Chinatown to make a formal apology to Chinese people for the legislated discrimination enacted decades ago by previous city councils.

The event at the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Vancouver comes after the 11-member council agreed unanimously in November 2017 to hold a ceremony to condemn the racist policies of city leaders in power between 1886 and 1947.

Banning voting rights, not allowing Chinese people to run for public office and lobbying for a head tax were among such policies. Read more…

Vancouver city council has set April 22 as the date it will formally apologize to the Chinese community for previous councils’ legislated discrimination against Chinese people. Photo City of Vancouver Archives Bu N158.2

City of Vancouver formally apologizes to Chinese community for past discrimination

Chad Pawson, CBC News, Apr 22, 2018

The City of Vancouver formally apologized to Chinese Canadians on Sunday for past legislation, regulations and policies that discriminated against them.
“This is an important day for council and all Vancouverites to come together and recognize historical wrongdoings committed against Chinese people and to build a better future together,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson in a written statement.
An audience of 500 people witnessed the ceremony at the Chinese Cultural Centre, which was also broadcast on a screen along Keefer Street in the city’s Chinatown. Read more…

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson along with city councillors pose with the official apology offered to redress historical discrimination against Chinese residents. (City of Vancouver/Twitter)

Facing displacement by condos, should Vancouver artists ‘bite the hand that feeds?’

Tessa Vikander, Metro, Mar 11 2018

In an increasingly unaffordable city, where low-wage earners are struggling to find housing and artists are struggling to find affordable studio space, some members of Vancouver’s artistic community are calling on artists to get involved in anti-gentrification and housing rights advocacy.

The call to action came last Wednesday, during a community forum at the 221A arts space in Chinatown, where artists with varying political views debated the ethics of accepting developer money. After the event, Vincent Tao, a librarian at 221A who helped organize the event, told Metro that artists, who have to pay rent for their homes and studio or practice space, are in a tricky situation. Read more…

Vincent Tao wants artists to join groups fighting for rent freezes, a living wage and an end to “renovictions.”

Reconciling the damage done by ‘urban renewal’

Allen Garr / Vancouver Courier, FEBRUARY 6, 2018 12:41 PM

In the mid-1950s, Vancouver city bureaucrats steered a malleable and willing council down the road to “urban renewal.” It was a course pretty well every major city in the western world was taking as they tried to shake off the economic lethargy following the Second World War.

Here and pretty well everywhere else it was a strategy that had two major pieces: slum clearance and freeway construction. It was the time when the car was king and the middle class was moving to the suburbs.

Inevitably in most cities in North America that meant bulldozing homes and businesses populated predominantly by either blacks or Chinese. In Vancouver it meant both. Read more…

A view of Hogan’s Alley in 1958. Photo City of Vancouver Archives P508.53