The largest Chinatown in Canada. It should be no great surprise given Vancouver's location as an entry point from Asia to Canada. There has been a large Chinese community in Vancouver for generations, but apparently the newer members of the community have moved out to the suburbs. Walking around in Chinatown you'll see the herb shops, lots of reasonable restaurants and the usual hustle and bustle you expect to find in Chinatown.
I have to say that Chinese food in Vancouver was excellent!! Spicier than I have tasted in most places and delightfully mixed with Singapore Chinese cooking as well as incorporating elements from other Asian countries.
Chinatown is located between Carral Street and Gore Avenue in downtown Vancouver. It is North America's second largest Chinese community after San Francisco's. The first Chinese arrived in 1858, during the gold rush, more came later to build the Canadian Pacific Railwayl. Fresh fruits, vegetalbes, jade, ivaory, banboo, rattan, brassware, silk, brocade and ginseng are among the thing you can find here at all the different stores. This is definitely a great place to visit if you are interested in Chinese culture. It's just interesting to wander the streets and see all the vendors, stores and such. There are several events throughout the year such as Chinese New Year, street festivals, night markets and more.
Within Chinatown you can also find the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Gardens. This garden is the first authentic classical Chinese garden built outside China. There is a $5 million Ming Dynasty replica, built by artisans from Suzhou, a Chinese city famous for its gardens. Every pebble has been placed with painstaking awareness of harmony.
Chinatown is located around West Pender St., and is roughly bordered by Abbott Street and Gore Ave. This is the third largest Chinatown in North America, after San Francisco and New York.
If you can't make it to Hong Kong, Vancouver's Chinatown makes you almost think you are there. Chinese businesses and immigration has become more centered on Richmond, a suburb of Vancouver, but it's still fun to stroll and browse downtown Chinatown, taking in the smells, sights, and sounds.
Don't miss the Sam Kee building, the world's narrowest office building, only 1.5 m wide. Located at the corner of Pender and Carrall Sts.
Listed in the Guinness book of world record as the narrowest building. It came about when the city took a majority of the land to widen pender Street but the owner refused to give up his dreams and built here anyway.
Most Asian-Canadians living in Vancouver, Canada go to Chinatown to buy their fresh Asian produce. If you are in Vancouver, make sure to side-trip to Chinatown. You can see the different Asian fruits and vegetables and the fish market. (I come here to buy my favorite Jasmine tea!)
There are many Chinese stores that sell Chinese medicines from tea, ginseng, snake biles, lizards, deer antlers, dried seahorses, dried raisins to dried mushrooms!
It is fascinating to watch local Chinese barter these products and how they take pride in taking these medicines despite the advance western medicine!
When being in Vancouver you should definitely spend some hours in Chinatown. You can buy some chewy food (see the photo) or just walk around and soak in the atmosphere of this little China in Canada. Have a look at the roadsigns and the advertisements. You will notice that often it is bilingual or only in Chinese. And have a look at the architecture!
Over 30% of the population of Vancouver is of Asian decent so as you can imagine, not all of them live in the area officially known as Chinatown. It usually doesn't take long for visitors to discover the influence Chinese-Canadians have had on the city, nor does it take long to find a good Chinese restaurant! Perhaps for this reason (and also because my friend Catherine still wasn't over the shock of finding herself surrounded by junkies in Downtown Eastside on her way to Chinatown) I hadn't really planned on going to Chinatown, but when Rob, Dennis and Dave suggested going to the Chinatown Night Market as part of our VT meeting, I was happy to accept their invitation! We did have to walk through what Rob rightly compared to a scene from "The Night of the Living-Dead" as we made our way from Gastown to Chinatown, and had to make way for drug dealers fleeing the scene as the cops showed up. Nothing at all happened to us, but I was still glad not to be by myself.
When we did make it to the market, however, we were treated to a whole new scenery: there were lights and colours everywhere, music, kids running around, and delicious smells coming from all the food stands. Apparently, the night market in Richmond is much bigger, but I was still quite happy with the one in Vancouver. On top of all the traditional Asian snacks, you can shop around for some well-priced handicrafts, clothes, CDs, DVDs and so on. Dennis treated us all to some delicious dragon's beard candy, and Rob took quite a few amazing pictures, which he kindly shared with me. It was a really fun and different nightlife experience!
The Chinatown Night Market runs from mid-May to mid-September, every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night from 6:30 pm to 11:00 pm.
Vancouver has the second largest North American Chinatown after San Francisco, and it is estimated that 30 percent of the city's population is of Chinese heritage. This sprawling neighborhood has hundreds of shops, markets, restaurants, all within walking distance of downtown. The first Chinese laborers came to the area in the earliest 1880s, even before the city was established, working in the gold mines, lumber yards, fish canneries, and railroad construction. Chinatown expanded in the early 1900s, but from 1907 until after WWII, the area suffered from racism. Since the war, the community has become an accepted and celebrated part of the city's cultural heritage.
Chinatown is located just east of downtown and is roughly bordered by Hastings, Georgia, Gore, and Taylor Streets, but is centered on Main, Keefer, and Pender Streets. Key attractions include the Millennium Gate, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, Han Dynasty Bell in Shanghai Alley, Chinese Cultural Centre, and The Monument of Canadian Chinese. The Millennium Gate at Pender and Taylor was built in 2002 to help connect Chinatown to downtown Vancouver. Sun Yat Sen Gardens are an impressive and beautiful oasis in a busy city. The Han Dynasty bell is a replica of an ancient Chinese bell that was given to Vancouver by they city of Guangzhou, China. The Chinese Cultural Center was opened in 1989 and sits at the end of Sun Yat Sen Gardens. The Monument of Canadian Chinese features a railway worker and a WWII veteran and was unveiled in 2003.
I dont know why but I expected Chinatown to be alittle bit better, more busy, more exciting but it wasnt. Maybe I came on the wrong day or time? It was pretty dead. I did like it but I was alittle disappointed.
Vancouver’s Chinatown is a great place to find a touch of Asia in the new world. Filled with historic buildings that highlight the plight of Chinese in Vancouver, Chinatown is a great place to explore, especially on summer nights when merchants take part in Chinatown’s Night Market, an outdoor festival with music and dancing. Download a free Geogad Mobile Tour of Vancouver’s Chinatown to easily guide you around this complicated neighborhood (http://www.geogad.com/Geogad/VCCGtour.jsp). It is truly a piece of China in Canada. If you need directions of help finding your way around, be sure to stop by the Chinese Cultural Centre for a free map of Chinatown and advice from the friendly locals (http://www.cccvan.com/).
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