By Christopher Cheung and Joshua Berson 15 Jul 2020, TheTyee.ca
You can’t have Chinatown without Chinese food. In Vancouver’s historic neighbourhood, there’s the tourist, looking for a bite of culture. There are politicians like Justin Trudeau, looking for a place to campaign. There’s the immigrant senior, looking for familiar food. There’s the resident from the Downtown Eastside, looking for something hot, affordable and a place to sit. But in a pandemic, how are Chinatown’s eateries faring? After our visit to Gain Wah, our series continues with Floata.
“Last year, Justin Trudeau came here for Chinese New Year! And now, we’re losing money whether we close or we open,” said Andre Ruan with a sigh. “These are very difficult times.”
There were always massive crowds at Floata, Canada’s largest Chinese restaurant: fundraisers, weddings, tour groups and parties by various Chinatown societies all brought people to Vancouver’s historic Chinatown. …read more
In the next few weeks, there will be an announcement establishing the B.C. Chinese Canadian Museum and its new board of directors. This is the next step following the commitment of $1 million in November from the B.C. government towards the creation of a museum.
The museum aims to commemorate the living cultural heritage of Vancouver’s Chinatown and the significant role Chinese Canadians had in building Canada and would be a vital cornerstone in an application towards a UNESCO World Heritage Site designation. However, during the coronavirus pandemic, the community we know and love as Chinatown has been harder hit than many areas. So much so that if a lifeline is not forthcoming to support the historic area’s businesses, workers, and arts organizations, they will not be building a museum; in fact, they will be building a mausoleum — a tomb to showcase what once was. …read more
By Christopher Cheung and Joshua Berson, 13 Jul 2020, TheTyee.ca
You can’t have Chinatown without Chinese food. In Vancouver’s historic neighbourhood, there’s the tourist, looking for a bite of culture. There are politicians like Justin Trudeau, looking for a place to campaign. There’s the immigrant senior, looking for familiar food. There’s the resident from the Downtown Eastside, looking for something hot, affordable and a place to sit. But in a pandemic, how are Chinatown’s eateries faring? In this series, we’ll bring you inside the doors of three longtime favourites.
“Son, you know what? You need some skills.”
“If you know how to cook, you’ll get a job. There are restaurants all over the world.”
The advice from his father would eventually lead Andrew Leung to run Gain Wah in Vancouver’s Chinatown, and for a lot longer than he thought he would. When Leung bought the restaurant from a friend in 1989, he told his wife he’d try it for eight, maybe 10 years. …read more
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…