Chinatown, Victoria

3.5 out of 5 stars 32 Reviews

Douglas St. to the Warf of Upper Harbour

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  • Fisgard St.,China Town,Victoria,B.c.Canada.
    Fisgard St.,China...
    by Greggor58
  • Chinatown
    Chinatown
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  • Chinatown
    Chinatown
    by IreneMcKay
  • Albernfrau's Profile Photo

    Chinatown

    by Albernfrau Updated Jul 26, 2006

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    This is one of Canada's oldest Chinatowns. It is full of wonderful shops. You can buy so many great affordable things here. A must is Fan Tan Alley; the narrowest alley you will ever see!!! Lots of great shops exit onto it. Just walk and explore. It is a rather small area with the main area being Fisgard Street between Government and Store Street but check out the surrounding streets as well. You must try a "honeybun" at the Chinese restaurant two doors down from Fisgard and Government. You will see the chickens hanging in the window that is it. It will be the best 80 cents you ever spend!!!

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    Chinatown

    by Blatherwick Written Mar 16, 2006

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    Founded in 1858, Victoria has the oldest Chinatown in Canada. By 1911, it covered 6 city blocks, and housed approximately 4,000 people. As the community grew, Chinatown expanded to include shops, schools, herbalist stores, theatres and restaurants.

    If you enter Chinatown from Government Street, you'll pass under the Gate of Harmonious Interest, made of Taiwanese ceramic tiles and decorative panels. Check out the three-storey schol built by the Chinese Benevolent Society in the early 1900s at a time when non-Canadian Chinese kids were banned from public schools. Look for Fan Tan Alley on the south side of Fisgard Street between Nos. 545½ and 549½. At its narrowest, the street is only 0.9 m (3 ft) wide. Of course, stop and have dim sum in the morning or Chinese seafood at any time.

    Gate of Harmonious Interest Fan Tan Alley
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  • Lady_Mystique's Profile Photo

    Second Oldest Chinatown in North America!

    by Lady_Mystique Updated Mar 14, 2006

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    Step through 'The Gate of Harmonious Interest' for an unforgettable walk through Canada's Oldest Chinatown...and North America's Second Oldest Chinatown.

    Victoria's Chinatown was the stopover, playground, and temporary home for prospectors and adventurers during the heydey of the 1858 West Coast Gold Rush.

    As Victoria expanded during the 1880s and early 1900s the Chinese community also grew. Victoria was an important Pacific seaport, and goods from China arrived to be sent to other parts of North America. Construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway brought many Chinese people to British Columbia, who then remained in Victoria after the railway was completed in 1885. Some Chinese people found prosperity as merchants and landlords, and a number of the wooden buildings that made up much of Chinatown were replaced by brick buildings three and four stories high.

    Chinatown's "Forbidden City" was a network of alleyways and courtyards hidden behind the street fronts. This section of Chinatown was only open to Chinese people. Among other things, it housed gambling dens that featured elaborate escape routes in case of police raids.

    Chinatown at night Lion @ entrance of The Gate of Harmonious Interest FanTan Alley...the narrowest in Canada
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  • LoriPori's Profile Photo

    CHINATOWN

    by LoriPori Written Oct 23, 2004

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    Canada's third largest CHINATOWN is this city's most fascinating enclave. Preservation of historic buildings and revitalization of the neighbourhood have brought this colourful quarter to life. Hans and I loved walking through Chinatown with all the colourful souvenir shops and quaint little restaurants.

    Entrance to Chinatown

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    Chinatown Architecture

    by meteorologist1 Written Sep 24, 2004

    Being the oldest in Canada, Victoria's Chinatown offers some excellent historic architecture that you can look at. It used to have the largest Chinese community in all of Canada. Many Chinese companies, organizations, businesses, etc. had offices here, and their marks are left on the buildings. You can see the names and dates of the buildings when they were built - very early 20th century and late 19th century.

    Victoria Chinatown
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    Streets of Chinatown

    by meteorologist1 Updated Sep 24, 2004

    Victoria's Chinatown is the oldest in Canada. This Chinatown is worth a visit because of its historic buildings and sites. However, you will find that this Chinatown is really small (just one street). It is one of the quietest and cleanest Chinatown I've seen. There are a few very nice gift shops and restaurants, but we couldn't find any really good restaurants here; that includes seafood restaurants.

    Victoria Chinatown
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  • mht_in_la's Profile Photo

    Fan Tan Alley

    by mht_in_la Updated Dec 4, 2003

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    Victoria's Chinatown has a couple of narrow alleys -- this one being the narrowest. These secret pathways were built in the 19th Century to keep a low profile, but have become huge tourist attractions today. It's one of a kind.

    Inside Fan Tan Alley there are about a dozen shops selling arts and crafts, antique, and hard-to-find music records -- the stuff immigrants don't really care about. These are mostly small, cute, hip shops not really owned and run by people from Chinatown. The only one that seemed to be local was the barbershop. Inside there's a Chinese barber fixing a few Chinese heads. For Westerners looking for ultimate travel experience, try get a haircut here.

    Fan Tan Alley
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  • peaceful China Town

    by vividvivian Updated Oct 11, 2003

    trash can- cause it is written in Chinese.
    street lamps- all in red colur in traditional design
    low rise buildings forming this little China Town, people are quite and polite, streets are clean, totally different from the one in Vancouver downtown.

    little history of China Town, Victoria
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    Chinatown

    by mht_in_la Updated Jun 28, 2003

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    If you have visited my other pages such as Vancouver, Calgary, or London, you'd know I'm a fan of Chinatown. It seemed to me the one here has been "Victorianized"; it's small but complete, old yet yuppy, just like Victoria.

    Behind the big gate there are your usual restaurants and grocery stores. Look closer you'll find over-decorated shop signs and phone booths. While I was there several tour buses made a quick photo stop -- something I had never seen in Vancouver's or other Chinatowns.

    Besides Chinese, I saw a small group of "out-of-Chinatowners" living here, mostly above the restaurants. They seemed to be the young, hip type -- students, maybe starving artists. What really makes Chinatown hip is the small alleys with fancy little shops. The most famous one is Fan Tan which I'll post in the next tip.

    Chinatown
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  • btex's Profile Photo

    Chinatown

    by btex Written Jun 21, 2003

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    Chinatown in Victoria isn't very big, but it is worth a visit...I enjoyed it more than the Vancouver Chinatown. There are many restaurants, grocery stores, and other shops in the area. The shops all seem to sell the same old souvenirs. Instead of buying just another souvenir, I bought a can of roasted eels...and they weren't too bad...the eels had some sort of barbeque sauce on them...they had more taste to them than canned tuna. I also visited a take out place in Chinatown and got BBQ duck which was better than the eels. In Chinatown, you'll also find the narrowest street in Canada - Fan Tan Alley which is only about 4 feet wide. In the past, it was an entrance to a maze of secret passageways, gambling and opium dens and other seedy stuff...all that's gone now. Check out Chinatown!

    Chinatown
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    Fan Tan Alley

    by geekgrrl Written Feb 25, 2003

    Walked through the Gate of Harmonious Interest and then through Fan Tan Alley - world's narrowest street - only about 4' wide. In the late 1800s, it was an alley full of ill-repute, but now there are just little shops opening on to it.

    The 4' section is in background.
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  • sunnywong's Profile Photo

    Chinatown

    by sunnywong Written Feb 25, 2003

    This Chinatown is the oldest in Canada and the second oldest in North American (after San Francisco's Chinatown). During the Gold Rush, Chinatown was much larger, as half of Victoria's population was Chinese. The Gate of Harmonious Interest was built 20 years ago as a gift from Suzhou, Victoria's sister city in China. Walk through the gates and cross Government Street to the Chinese Public School. Built in 1909, the Chinese Public School still offers classes in Chinese languages, history and culture.

    From Pandora Street, walk through Fan Tan Alley to get to Fisgard Street. Fan Tan Alley is the narrowest street in Canada and was once the home of opium dens and gambling houses.

    Gate of Harmonious, Victoria, BC
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  • Vanislander's Profile Photo

    Visit Victoria's Chinatown,...

    by Vanislander Written Aug 25, 2002

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    Visit Victoria's Chinatown, the second oldest Chinatown in NorthAmerica behind San Fransisco. Although quite small, it has a beautiful architecture. See Fan Tan Alley while you are there, Canada's narrowest street! This China Town had the largest population of any Chinatown in Canada until 1910 when Vancouvers Chinatown exceeded it.

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  • pieter_jan_v's Profile Photo

    The Chinese Public School

    by pieter_jan_v Written Oct 11, 2012

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    The first Chinese Public School was started by entreponeur Lee Mong Kow. When construction was finished in 1909 he became the school's principal.

    The first Chinese Public School - Victoria BC Lee Mong Kow info - Victoria BC
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  • cachaseiro's Profile Photo

    Oldest Chinatown in Canada.

    by cachaseiro Updated Feb 19, 2011

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    Chinatown in Victoria is not very big, but it's good and authentic.
    It's actually the oldest in canada.
    I really enjoyed strolling around there, looking at the shops and eating good chinese food.

    Chinatown.
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