YOUR KEY TO Vancouver’s Trendy Chinatown

Shelley Hayashi

Vancouver’s Chinatown is undergoing a transition – a crossroad where the past meets the present and tradition intersects modernity. As many old businesses retire or move out to the suburbs, new businesses bring refreshing and exciting opportunities to this area. It’s a favourite neighbourhood of mine to explore, as I always come across new shops and discover new experiences.
A Settlement of Chinese Labourers
Vancouver’s Chinatown, with its rich and colourful history, grew out of a settlement of Chinese labourers brought over by the CP Rail Company in the late 1800’s to complete the final treacherous part of building the railroad across western Canada. Chinatown was the only place in those days where these sojourners could find housing and community support. As the years passed, this rough and tumble neighbourhood expanded and evolved into a prosperous, vibrant gathering place for Vancouver’s ever growing Chinese population. Chinatown was jammed with shops, restaurants and nightclubs from the 1940’s to the 1970’s, and the neighbourhood continued to be a community hub until well into the late 1980’s. Read more…

Heritage Vancouver releases 2018 top 10 watch list

Naoibh O’Connor, Vancouver Courier, MAY 17, 2018

The discussion around heritage is becoming increasingly complicated and perhaps nowhere is that better reflected than among some of the top finishers on Heritage Vancouver Society’s annual watch list that was released this week.

Heather Street Lands and the Fairmont Academy, a historic building that sits on the 21-acre property, earned the No. 1 spot, followed by Chinatown in second place. Neighbourhood businesses, meanwhile, landed in fifth position.

All three represent heritage values beyond just buildings.

Bill Yuen, the society’s executive director, says the organization wants to encourage the wider public to think beyond the traditional definition of heritage, which at one point focused largely on architecturally significant buildings, and to consider a fuller vision of heritage that includes aspects such as social and cultural history – areas that may have been under-represented in the past. Read more…

As Heritage Vancouver Society releases its annual Top 10 endangered sites list, executive director Bill Yuen says the organization encourages a wider view of heritage that includes social and cultural history like that found in Chinatown. Photo Dan Toulgoet

Disappearing Act: How Chinatowns in the US are being erased

Ty Lawson, China Global Television Network ,2018-06-04

A hunger strike is underway in New York City where people who were forced out of their crumbling Chinatown apartment building are protesting.

About 100 tenants were evacuated from their homes in January after a court-ordered inspection deemed the building uninhabitable. Other community members have joined them in their effort to return to their homes.

The tenants claim their landlord has let the building fall apart – so he could make repairs and then charge higher rent, in turn attracting more affluent residents. Read more…

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)

New arts center helps reclaim a piece of Chinatown

Adrian Walker GLOBE COLUMNIST MAY 14, 2017

Glance out a window of the newly opened Pao Arts Center in Chinatown, and the view is dominated by concrete — specifically, an expressway entrance ramp that nearly six decades ago ripped a hole in the neighborhood’s soul.

The just-opened arts center is conceived as part gallery, part classroom, and part meeting space. It occupies space in a mixed-use development called One Greenway, a lovely but generic-looking high-rise that hardly feels like part of an ethnic neighborhood.

That’s because it is in an area that was snatched away from Chinatown under the banner of urban renewal. The homes of an estimated 200 to 300 Asian families, which once stood on the site, were demolished during the early 1960s. Read more…

Wah Lum Kung Fu and Tai Chi Academy performed at the grand opening of the Pao Arts Center in Chinatown earlier this month.

Past and future of Vancouver’s Chinatown showcased at new restaurant

CBC News, February 18, 2018

At the height of the Lunar New Year celebrations, in the heart of Vancouver’s Chinatown, the proprietor of a new restaurant is working to revitalize a neighbourhood that has seen many traditional businesses disappear in recent years.

The City of Vancouver has been exploring ways to sustain the culture of Chinatown — local food suppliers like grocers, butchers and fish shops have been closing, often replaced by proposed condo developments and coffee shops.

The City says this is due to many factors, chiefly rising real estate prices and high property taxes. Read more…

Chinatown BBQ is decorated with second-hand furniture from other, now closed, restaurants in the neighbourhood. (Michelle Eliot / CBC)

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…

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)

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

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.