This is Chinatown




Ready for a trip down memory lane that'll tickle your tastebuds too? Welcome to Chinatown, Vancouver's sizzling hotspot of culture, cuisine, and can-do community spirit! As North America's third-largest Chinatown, this bustling neighborhood is a kaleidoscope of vivid colors, aromatic cuisine, and rich cultural history. Located just east of downtown Vancouver, don't miss iconic landmarks like the tranquil Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, the incredibly slender Sam Kee Building—touted as the world's narrowest commercial structure—and the informative Chinese Cultural Centre and Chinese Canadian Museum.

A fresh wave of the city’s young Asian population has recently migrated into the area, sparking a renaissance of modern art galleries, avant-garde restaurants, and trendy cafes.

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Italian Trulli
Vancouver Chinatown is one of BC’s most iconic neighbourhoods with cultural significance to the Chinese Canadian community and to the history of Vancouver and our province.
- Hon. Lana Popham, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport

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Chinatown stands as a testament to the remarkable influence that the Chinese Canadian community has —and continues to have—on Vancouver's development. More than mere cheap labour for building railroads, Chinese settlers contributed significantly to the expansion of the fur trade and laid the foundation for some of Canada's most enduring and profitable industries. In the 1950s, when the Canadian government had big dreams and planned a new freeway across the Burrard Inlet that would cut straight through Chinatown, it was the relentless advocacy of the local business community and its allies that preserved this historic area. Their efforts not only halted the freeway project but also ensured the walkability of Vancouver's downtown core. As Prof. Henry Yu aptly puts it, "It's not that Chinatown was saved from the freeway; Vancouver was saved by Chinatown." High five to that!

Remember the days when Chinatown was all aglow with neon? Ah, those were the times! But hey, styles change and bylaws happen (eye-roll at that 1974 sign bylaw that messed everything up). Once renowned for its neon signs, Chinatown saw a decline in these iconic displays and the last vestige of this era, the Ho Ho sign featuring a rice bowl and chopsticks, was removed in 1997. However, some neon signs still light up the night, like the iconic Jack Chow Insurance sign and the sign for Bao Bei restaurant, which evoke memories of this bygone time.

Now, let's talk Insta-worthy spots! The China Gate on Pender, situated near to the Chinese Cultural Centre, is an automatic backdrop for that "Wish you were here!" selfie. This gate was a gift from the Government of the People's Republic of China and originally featured at the Expo 86 world's fair before being donated to the City of Vancouver. It is just a short stroll from the enlightening Chinatown Storytelling Centre and the beautiful Chinese Canadian Museum. Don't forget your cherry-blossom pictures at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden - your Insta game will be next-level here!

Hungry yet? Unleash your inner food explorer with a smorgasbord freshly prepared Asian delicacies. Think mooncakes that are out-of-this-world and roasted duck to quack about. Centrally located on Pender Street, it is bordered by Gastown and Vancouver's Financial and Central Business Districts to the west, the Downtown Eastside to the north, remnants of historic Japantown to the northeast, and the quaint residential area of Strathcona to the east.

Whether you're in for a stroll through history or a gastronomic adventure, Chinatown's got you covered. Come for the culture, stay for the duck! 🦆
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