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Celebrate Chinese New Year in Vancouver and Richmond

By Lucas Aykroyd, January 6th, 2023

With a huge dragon, lion dancers, drumming, and firecrackers, Vancouver’s annual Chinese New Year Parade (January 22, 2023) attracts more than 100,000 spectators to Canada’s largest historic Chinatown. It’s the best-known display of authentic Chinese culture in this ultra-diverse British Columbia city.

Yet that’s just a small taste. This is a great time for exploring local Chinese art, food, and history more deeply. Vancouver just elected its first Chinese-Canadian mayor (Ken Sim) in its 136-year history, and close to 20 percent of the city’s growing population has Chinese heritage. Your options are endless. Read more…

Chinatown Storytelling Centre exhibit. Photo by Lucas Aykroyd.

Chinatown: Exotic Cuisine and a Vibrant Culture

Destination Vancouver

The culinary landscape of Vancouver’s Chinatown is a dynamic meeting of cultural heritage and present-day innovation. As the heart of the Chinese Canadian community, Chinatown contains many long-time shops and restaurants that are beloved for their unique food offerings. The neighbourhood is currently undergoing an exciting revival as new establishments open, many of them representing the next generation of Chinese Canadian restaurateurs.
Chinatown, bounded roughly by Taylor Street and Gore Avenue from west to east and Georgia Street and Hastings Street from south to north, was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 2011. It’s the largest historical Chinatown in Canada and the third largest in North America. The neighbourhood emerged as an ethnic enclave in the 1880s as Chinese residents began congregating on Carrall Street and what was Dupont (Pender) Street. Chinese association buildings, theatres, and schools subsequently opened to serve the expanding community. Read more…

Shanghai alley street sign

Why Chinese restaurants are sites of innovation and resilience around the world

By Ann Hui, The Globe and Mail, JANUARY 31, 2022

In 1976, Cheuk Kwan had dinner at the Cin Lokantasi, or “China Restaurant,” in Istanbul. There was no pork on the menu – a staple of most Chinese cuisine. The owner, he later learned, was a Muslim-Chinese man who had fled Mao Zedong’s China, travelling through Pakistan and Iraq, before eventually settling in Turkey.

This experience led Kwan to the realization that, no matter where you are in the world, there’s a Chinese restaurant. That was the thesis behind his 2005 documentary series Chinese Restaurants, which follows the filmmaker from Israel to Kenya, and Argentina to Brazil, visiting Chinese restaurants across 13 countries. Read more…

Cheuk Kwan, author of Have You Eaten Yet?

See the World, in Canada

By Elaine Glusac, New York Times, July 21, 2021

Beginning Aug. 9, Canada plans to reopen its border to nonessential American visitors — including tourists — as long as they are fully vaccinated. The decision comes after months of public pressure, largely from states and communities that share the 5,500-mile border and experienced more than a year of family separation, lost work and social upheaval. In recent weeks, Canada’s vaccination rate has surged – Oxford University’s Our World in Data site shows Canada leading the world in vaccinations — with 70 percent of residents at least partially vaccinated, approaching Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s vaccine targets for reopening. Americans traveling to Canada must be fully vaccinated with one of the vaccines approved in Canada – including Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson – and submit proof via the government’s ArriveCAN app or website. They must also provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours of arrival in Canada.
With the relaxed restrictions, tourism officials are banking on an influx of visitors, not just to see family and friends, but to travel in a vast country rich with cultural influences from around the world. Read more…

Behind the Stories at the Chinatown Storytelling Centre

By Carolyn B. Heller, MONTECRISTO Magazine, Mar 17 2022

In the 1930s, Robert Wong and his brother Tommy built an airplane in Vancouver’s Chinatown. Not a model plane, but an actual 17-foot-long aircraft, dubbed the “Sea Scout,” constructed in wood, and powered by an automobile engine, that Robert flew from Vancouver’s Sea Island. The Wongs were still in high school, when Robert ordered the plans to build a plane; the brothers did the initial work on their craft in their family’s Chinatown apartment.

The tale of the Wong brothers’ aviation adventures is just one of many stories about the people and history of Vancouver’s Chinatown that are shared in the Chinatown Storytelling Centre, which opened in November in the former Bank of Montreal Building on East Pender Street. Unlike a more traditional museum that focuses on artifacts or objects, the Storytelling Centre highlights personal stories…Read More

Plane Builders Robert Wong and Tommy Wong. Photo courtesy of Evelyn Wong.

Top 20 Vancouver Experiences That Make Awesome Gifts (#11)

By Sasha Leung, Vancouver Foodie Tours, March 8, 2022

At Vancouver Foodie Tours, we’re proud ambassadors of the city we work and play in. Which means when we’re looking for gifts, we choose Vancouver experiences over “things”. If you’re looking for a Vancouver Experience Gift, you’ve come to the right place.

Why should you give an experience instead of a physical gift? When you gift an experience, you are creating memories that can last a lifetime. And if you join them in the experience, that means more time for you to connect.

Vancouver’s diverse cultural & physical landscape makes it the ideal place to get out and explore! In this list, we’ve included some great insider tips, popular attractions, and unknown experiences. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, you’ll find something in Vancouver that will capture the occasion. Even if you’re not looking for a gift, this list gives you a lot of inventive ideas on things to do in Vancouver…Read More

Chinatown, One of Vancouver’s oldest and most culturally diverse neighborhoods.

By JENNIFER VAN EVRA, Condé Nast Traveler, Dec 8 2021

Tell me: What’s this place all about?
The Canadian Pacific Railway was one of the largest and most consequential undertakings in the country’s history, and thousands of Chinese laborers were brought to Canada to perform the grueling work of building a transcontinental railroad. When it was finally completed in Vancouver in 1885, many workers settled in a rough-and-tumble area at the edge of the city—one that would become known as Chinatown. The newcomers experienced relentless racism, economic hardship and inequality—including the prohibitive Chinese Head Tax, which all but barred Chinese immigrants from coming to Canada. But despite the oppression they endured, they had an enormous impact on every facet of Vancouver life—one that remains tightly woven into the fabric of the region to this day… Read More.

Nelson Mouellic/Tourism Vancouver

Rediscover British Columbia’s unique blend of world flavors

By Destination BC, The Seattle Times, Sep. 24, 2021

After a year and a half of staycations and local day trips, many people are ready to revisit some favorite places and discover new adventures. Fortunately, there’s an exciting international destination just a three-hour drive from Seattle: British Columbia.

Despite being so close, B.C. feels like it’s a world away. The diverse culinary scene makes it an ideal destination for travelers who love to embrace new cuisines and are looking for a sense of connection to a new place this fall or any time of year. Read more…

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