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
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.
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…
By Mike Howell, Vancouver is Awesome, Jun 17, 2021
Pandemic-triggered increases in store closures, street disorder and anti-Asian racism have slammed the historic community, with a contrasting mix of unease and optimism among those who remain and those who left.
For more than a year now, Helen Chu has stood behind the counter of her flower shop in the Chinatown Plaza and hoped for something that rarely occurs these days: a visit from a buying customer.
On a recent Monday morning, over the space of three hours, Chu received four online orders for small flower arrangements, but no walk-in customers. Read more…
You know that narrow but deep vacant lot beside The Keefer Bar in Chinatown? It’s currently being transformed into The Keefer Yard, an al fresco space dedicated to outdoor games and good times.
The idea for The Keefer Yard is simple: run long rows of bench-style seats against both walls and front them with a 9-hole putting green. Putters and balls are available to rent for a small fee that will be donated to local charitable organisations, starting with the Hogan’s Alley Society. There will be other games to play, too (eg. horseshoes), and GM Keenan Hood tells me he’s also planning for a food truck to be present. read more…
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…