Vancouver is a city of neighborhoods. When you walk around this city, look at the faces. It’s like being in the lobby of the United... more » Nations. The city is, in fact, arguably the most international city on the continent, exceeded only by New York in its ethnic diversity. And no neighborhood is as culturally defined as Chinatown.
Vancouver’s six-block Chinatown is home to the largest Chinese community in Canada and the second largest in North America next to San Francisco’s. Victoria’s Chinatown is older, dating from 1858 when the first Chinese immigrants stepped off the boat, the forerunners of a wave of Chinese immigrants, brought to Canada in the late 1800s to work as laborers in the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway.
A small Chinese settlement had already developed at Shanghai Alley near what are now Pender and Carrall Streets, when the City of Vancouver was incorporated in 1886.
Soon, it started to develop along the shores of False Creek adjacent to Gastown. Though Victoria was the more important of the two cities then, Vancouver was dubbed "Salt Water City" by the Chinese and was their favorite city for settlement.
Today's Chinatown has grown in recent years to reflect other Asian cultures such as those of Vietnam and other Southeast Asian nations.
Chinatown has been declared an historic site, assuring that its character is preserved and enhanced. less «