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Bev Wong, CFUW
Having grown up in the Strathcona area and having walked from my elementary school, Strathcona, through Chinatown to Chinese School for four years, I thought that I knew Chinatown well. However, when Judy Maxwell took fifteen of my fellow members of the Canadian Federation of University Women from throughout BC on a tour, I learned so much more. Vancouver’s Chinatown is full of history. We learned how the Government of Canada was forced to recognize its Chinese-Canadians as Canadian citizens and the impact of the sacrifices made by Chinese-Canadian soldiers during the two world wars.
We walked on the main street, Pender, but also went to Shanghai Alley, Keefer Street and even the alleys which lead to once bustling courtyards of old buildings– formerly lively homes to many multi-generational families. We even entered a historic building which is currently a recreation area for players of mah jong, fan tan and pai gow. How fascinating, too, it was to see Pender Street from a balcony which towered over the walkers below and provided an incredible view of the adjacent structures–all the better for us to view the intricate designs and unique architecture.
Judy made the visit to Chinatown alive as she talked about its structures, the people, their businesses, triumphs, pains and joys. A walk with Judy also fills a person with curiosity, as one continues to wonder about a bygone era full of vivid reminders through the sights, sounds and aromas of Chinatown.Bev Wong, CFUW
Dan C, Principal of Rockridge Secondary School, West Vancouver
Thanks for providing a unique opportunity to see Vancouver’s Chinatown from an insider’s perspective. We are grateful to you for outlining the Canadian Chinese experience of discrimination in Vancouver. We learned the significance of Chinatown’s unique heritage buildings, were initiated into the mysteries of Chinese herbal medicine and went back in time as we ducked into secret passageways used to avoid curfew laws. The warm greetings we were given because we were with you, and the colourful stories you related at each place on the tour, we came to feel like insiders ourselves. Thanks again.Dan C, Principal of Rockridge Secondary School
Jennifer C., Teacher from General Wolfe Elementary
…being born here in Vancouver as a Chinese Canadian, I’ve never knew the long history about our china town and about other china towns around the world … I did not realize there was such a willingness of the Chinese people to help in the war, especially when they faced with such discrimination and racism during that time period.
…I thought the tour was worth the money and the time and would have loved to stay all day to learn more!
…Thank you so much for taking us around china town I really enjoyed it!Jennifer C., Teacher from General Wolfe Elementary
Lam Family of Vancouver
Judy is extremely knowledgeable and personable: her tours are both informative and engaging! We definitely recommend her to anyone who has interest in knowing more about Chinese Canadian History or just wants to get a taste for what Chinatown is all about!Lam Family of Vancouver
Jean Q, Teacher at Renfrew Elementary School
After taking the Historical Chinatown Tour in 2010, I immediately booked a field trip for my class so they might also learn about one of Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhoods steeped in rich culture and heritage. Judy’s passion for the people, and her knowledge of the history of the area, are clearly evident, and now I find that my students and I share a better understanding of Chinatown’s transition from the old world diasporas of immigrants to today’s newly evolving and diverse community. Jean Q, Teacher at Renfrew Elementary School
George D., Vancouver School Board
What a great way to spend a sunny Friday!George D., Vancouver School Board
Jil D., Vancouver School Board
I have a new appreciation for Chinatown after the tour and will be back for the Chinatown Night Market for sure!Jil D., Vancouver School Board
Hugh E., VSB Social Studies Teacher
As a life-long Vancouverite, I have happy memories that stretch back to childhood of experiencing my native city’s Chinatown. However, some barriers of language made it so that I had a curiosity about this place that remained somewhat unfulfilled.
…On Judy Lam Maxwell’s excellent Historical Chinatown Tour, I was able to pass through cultural boundaries and feel welcomed into Chinatown’s unique way of life. There, I met a tailor who has been offering his trade for more than 70 years, investigate the architecture and cultural monuments of this small, but fascinating neighbourhood, and really get a window into a historic part of my city.
…I recommend Judy’s Chinatown tour to tourists, a academics or home-grown Vancouverites like me.Hugh E., VSB Social Studies Teacher
Ray Y., North Vancouver Teacher
I would like to thank you for an entertaining and informative tour of Vancouver’s Chinatown. As someone who spent many days of his childhood in Chinatown it was great to be able to hear about the history of the area and relate it to my own experiences. An eye opener for me was the information you shared about the current re-development of Chinatown and the many changes it is experiencing. Thanks again for a terrific stroll down memory lane that I won’t soon forget!Ray Y., North Vancouver Teacher
Victoria J, IB French and Spanish teacher
If Dim Sum and a fun tour of Vancouver’s Historic Chinatown sounds appealing to you, then Judy Maxwell is your go-to-girl to contact. My husband and I enjoyed a Historic Chinatown tour with Judy and then I invited some of my relatives and colleagues for a second tour. Both tours were fun and informative. Judy’s connection with the Chinatown community gave us access into historical buildings and very interesting presentations from representatives of family and benevolent associations. Although I did not grow up in Chinatown, I spent time there as a child on the weekends with my Dad and visited relatives who lived in the area. Judy was able to take us for interesting historic tours of the old buildings and talk to us about the significant historic community leaders of their time that contributed to the fascinating legacy of present day Chinatown. I always enjoy going into Chinatown to do some food shopping, enjoy their restaurants, and poke in and browse in the various shops. On this tour, we were able to do so and also got to see behind the scenes of life in Chinatown. Judy’s tours presented a lively community that still has ties to the past while it is making it’s way to the future. On both occasions organized by Judy, over copious cups of tea and delicious Dim Sum delicacies at the Jade Dynasty Restaurant on East Pender, we chatted about what we learned, surprised and fascinated us . The brisk walking tours last a good two hours and it’s good to ensure that you wear comfortable walking shoes, are dressed comfortably and are willing to manage some pretty steep steps into various family associations’ buildings. If you want to get to know Vancouver’s Chinatown better, learn about it’s history, take part in a learning how to brew tea properly the Chinese way, enjoy some great Dim Sum, and see what lies in store for its future, contact Judy Lam Maxwell for a group tour. You won’t be disappointed.Victoria J, IB French and Spanish teacher
Bob R, Teacher from McBride Elementary
Thanks again for the Chinatown tour on Friday. I really enjoyed it! What a way to spend a ProD, learning about the early Chinese in Canada, their organizations and affiliations, challenges, etc. and seeing the old buildings still in use, carrying on old traditions was heart warming, and the tailor and shop was a real bonus. You are offering a valuable service to your community and your heritage. It’s nice to see someone with a passion for their work.Bob R, Teacher from McBride Elementary

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