Vancouver has a high asian population and probably Canada's best China Town district. I wouldn't say it is the same is going to China but it's pretty good I have to say.
Take advantage of the many restaurant opportunities and I would have liked to attend some of the events that happen in this district. I have a web site address provided when event listings so you can try to take in this if your in the area at the right times.
I would also take time to visit the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Gardens.
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The Chinatown of Vancouver is one of the largest in North America. It is located east of downtown Vancouver and south of Gastown.
Pay attention if you are on foot that the route between Chinatown and Gastown (10-15 minutes) leads through one of the less attractive/safe areas of Vancouver. So during the night this might be not such a good idea. During a summer afternoon however, there are enough other people around. Nevertheless, be careful here.
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.
If you come to Vancouver from anywhere other than Hong Kong or China, you really must check out chinatown.
Bordered roughly by 2 blocks east of main st, 2 blocks west of main street, Pender to the North, and Venables South, it is located right downtown Vancouver.
Dr. Sun yat sen gardens is a must see, with part of it free to all to wander through (very small though), and worth paying the extra to see the rest if you're a fan of beautiful gardening or general feng-shui.
There's a lot of surprising things for sale at the markets, like giant eels swimming in little tanks for dinner, or barrels of live frogs for the same purpose, plus many other things that you don't quite know if they're animal, vegetable or mineral.
Hon's wonton house is popular for lunch, and for the very cheap of you (like me), there's actually Hon's offsale kitchen a couple doors down, where you can get a meal (try the chicken steamed buns) for less than $5 (in fact, I think you can eat for about $2.50 there).
Be aware though that right outside of chinatown is some of the worst area of vancouver, the 'downtown eastside', however people there stay out of chinatown. You'll know if you've walked a little too far. Don't let this deter you though, I know plenty of young women or families that go to chinatown regularly.
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.
Vancouver has a large and historic Chinatown, reported to be second in size only to San Francisco in North America.
One can easily spend a morning or afternoon exploring the many interesting shops & restaurants in Chinatown.
If you've never tried "Dim Sum", then I'd highly recommend you do! It's the equivalent of Chinese brunch, featuring all sorts of little dumplings. It's not for everyone but I find it delicious!
Like in other cities, the area in & around Chinatown can sometimes be seedy. Vancouver's unfortunately sits right beside the most crime ridden area in all of Canada. But Chinatown itself is quite safe.
Chinatown is the largest Chinatown outside of San Francisco. The street signs on the corners have sculpted dragons on the posts and ever business is signed in Chinese and English. The narrowest building in the world is there, an insurance company now. It's the length of the side of a building but only 1.8 meters deep. Apparently in 1908, the zoning by laws and land appropriations left the owner with almost nothing to build on and the owner was so ticked off that he decided to build on the narrow strip of land he was left with, just for spite!
There is a Chinese cultural center, fronted with an elaborate gateway and a Chinese gardens that I didn't take the time to explore. There were markets with bins of mostly unidentifiable items, one store that carried all sorts of kitchen goods, both Chinese and western. The area was a little run down and shabby, mostly just businesses lining the streets, some with flats in the buildings above the stores.
China Town was one of the stops on our Vancouver Trolley car tour. However, it is not a far walk from the centre of downtown.
It is located on the north East side of Downtown, just next to Gastown - its fairly easy to find.
We didn't get a chance to get off and walk about China Town - we had already done so much that day! However the driver did go slowly round it so that we could get some photos and a good look.
Like the China Town region of other major cities, this one had some stunning architecture and everything from street lights to walls were decked out with scupltures - all of them extremely detailed.
China Town Vancouver is also apparently home to the world thinest building. The driver told us the building was in the Guiness Book of World Records - and after seeing the building, i can believe him! (See the photo opposite. Its the building right on the corner. You can see the right side wall).
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.
There's quite a lot of things you can buy in Chinatown. The Chinatown market area located on the eastern part of Chinatown is really an eye opener. Besides fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats, you will also see a lot of great dried products that can be used in cooking. Also, the whole Chinatown offers great shopping opportunities, from Chinese gifts and decorations to shoes and clothing, all at great prices. Have lunch or dinner here because the prices of meals are pretty cheap. To some people, when talking about Chinatown they just think of it as being an array of Chinese restaurants. Vancouver's Chinatown is not like that. It is truly is a tourist attraction because it has a lot of interesting things to see.
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!
While Vancouver's large Chinese community is no longer confined to or measured by its Chinatown, Vancouver's Chinatown was home to the city's first Chinese pioneers of the late 1800's.
Chinatown is located east of downtown Vancouver, concentrated around the intersection of E Pender and Main Street. You'll find a variety of traditional Chinese medicine shops, cake shops, grocery stores, trinket shops, seafood shops, and restaurants.
However, Chinatown represents a traditional side to Vancouver's Chinese culture, reminiscent of the first community that lived here. Now that there are many new generations of Chinese-Canadians, there are more modern Chinese communities around the city, especially influenced by Hong Kong's culture and wealth. Most of Vancouver's Chinese restaurants aren't even located in Chinatown at all. Not to say that Chinatown is old fashioned, but you'll find it quite a contrast from the 21st century Asian malls like Yaohan Centre in nearby Richmond. Regardless, Chinatown is a perfect place to experience Vancouver's Chinese heritage and traditional culture.
While the streets are lined with restaurants and shops, Chinatown is also home to another attractions such as the Dr Sun Yat Sen Gardens, the first classical Chinese garden to be built outside of China.
The only unfortunate thing about Chinatown is it's location. While Chinatown is indeed fascinating during the day, practically all shops and restaurants close by 6pm and the neighbourhood becomes an extension of the Downtown Eastside. It's not dangerous or violent, but the close proximity to hardcore drug addicts, dealers, and homeless may be unsettling.
Despite this, Chinatown is well worth visiting in the morning or day if you're interested in local history and Chinese culture. The architecture is unique and the atmosphere is unlike anywhere else in the city. As well, if you visit in the summer months, be sure to visit Chinatown's vibrant night market - an open-air market with kiosks of gifts and delicious food!
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.
The Chinese Cultural Centre of Vancouver was founded in 1973.
It located at 50 E. Pender Street on the south east corner of Pender and Carrall. When you see the great big China Gate, you'll know you have arrived! Just come in and visit their main office to talk with the friendly and courteous staff, and they'll gladly assist you about your need in China Town.
Don't forget to ask about the Chinatown and Museum Tours!
This is the second-largest Chinatown in North America, next to San Fransisco's. The community is encompassed by Pender and Keefer Streets, and Carrol and Gore Streets. The first Chinese immigrants settled in the province during the Fraser Gold Rush in the 1850s. Today the past is alive in Chinatown. It remains an exotic place of wonder to outsiders and millions of people tour Chinatown every year. Chinatown is a haven for treasures and fabulous food. Its architecture is distinctive to China. The Sam Kee Building at 8 West Pender is the narrowest commercial building in the world and the Chinese Cultural Centre, an integral part of the Chinese community, is located at 50 East Pender. These are just a couple of points of interest in Chinatown.