The Chinatown Festival this weekend will be celebrating the 125th anniversary of Vancouver’s Chinatown. Given that the City of Vancouver is only 124, it’s important to get to know this historic community.
Background and history:
“Vancouver’s Chinatown is a community with a long history. The first Chinese immigrants to British Columbia arrived in 1858 from California where they had worked for more than a decade. From California, they followed the stream of fortune seekers that came to BC searching for gold. When the gold rush ended many of those that had traveled up the coast found work stringing telegraph wires or working in canneries. The building of the Canadian Pacific Railway sparked the next large influx of immigrants as 17,000 Chinese came to Canada between 1881 and 1885.” – City of Vancouver
“Between 1890-1920, early Chinese immigrants settled in what was known as Shanghai Alley and Canton Alley. By 1890, Shanghai Alley was home to more than 1,000 Chinese residents. Much of the community’s activities and entertainment evolved around a 500 seat Chinese theatre built in 1898. Canton Alley was created in 1904 as a Chinese style courtyard surrounded by two parallel rows of buildings running South from Pender Street. The Alleys were the convergence of vibrant nightlife, opera music, shopping, political and cultural activities.” – Vancouver’s Chinatown
Tidbits from VancouverHistory.ca: