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

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 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

Exploring Chinatown: 5 things you may not know about Vancouver’s historic district

CBC News, October 29, 2016

It’s one of the oldest neighbourhoods in the city — and home to some local legends. If you take a walk around Vancouver’s Chinatown, there are a lot of things that might catch your attention. For one, it’s the only neighbourhood in Vancouver with red lamp posts. But there’s a lot more to Chinatown than meets the eye — in fact, its rich history is the subject of a walking tour taking place at this year’s Heart of the City festival. If you don’t have time to take the tour, here are five fascinating facts about the historic neighbourhood. Read more…

Vancouver's Chinese New Year parade is famous for its lion and dragon dances. (Chinese Benevolent Association of Vancouver)
Vancouver’s Chinese New Year parade is famous for its lion and dragon dances. (Chinese Benevolent Association of Vancouver)

DINER | Chef Douglas Chang To Open Ai & Om Knife Store On E. Pender Street In Chinatown

by Andrew Morrison, MAY 11, 2016

Vancouver cooks of every stripe – be they amateur, professional, or utterly hopeless – will soon have a chef-owned knife store to call on for all their edged-tool needs. Located at 129 East Pender Street in the heart of Chinatown, Ai & Om is being launched by chef Douglas Chang (formerly Bambudda, Sai Woo). His passion for hand-crafted Japanese knives is decades old, kindled in tutelage by a master of the art when he was a young chef de partie in New York. Read more …

The history of Vancouver’s Chinatown, documented in menus

Jordan Peterman Jul 11th, 2016

Last time you held a Chinese restaurant menu, you probably missed something. It wasn’t the daily special or the egg rolls, but the personal stories, community histories and transnational relationships that are peppered throughout. We rarely read between the lines, but the stories are there. Read more …

Imogene Lim sits in a Chinese Restaurant with an assortment of menus. Photo by Rebecca Blissett.
Imogene Lim sits in a Chinese Restaurant with an assortment of menus. Photo by Rebecca Blissett.

Grandniece of last emperor of China showing paintings at Art! Vancouver

by KEVIN GRIFFIN, May 24, 2016

As a youngster growing up in China, Cecilia Aisin Gioro knew better than to talk about being related to the country’s last emperor. What stopped her was social pressure against acknowledging she was the grandniece of Puyi Aisin Gioro, or Henry Pu Yi, as he was called in the West. Read more …

Cecilia Aisin-Gioro, artist and director in her fine art gallery. She stands before the oil on canvas named ‘The Bride,’ depicting her lifting her red veil. KIM STALLKNECHT / PNG