After an exciting day visiting Grouse Mountain and Lonsdale Quay Market, it was time for a walk thru another of Vancouver’s neighborhoods. This time it was the turn of Chinatown!! Yes, my friends, I was intrigued by the former home of the Chinese laborers who built the railroads. Vancouver’s Chinatown is one of the largest in North America, even though a lot of the Asian population in the city lives in different areas nowadays. However, the place continues to be vital and lively thanks to the many that come to shop, eat and stroll.
Let’s take a little tour around Chinatown
Many consider the Millennium Gate the official entrance to Chinatown. It was built in 2002 to represent both the past and the future. It contains Western and Eastern symbols to celebrate the multiculturalism in the area.
Shanghai and Canton Alleys
These are probably the oldest streets in the neighborhood. In here, the first Asian immigrants to the region settled their houses and shops. At one point 1,000 residents called this area home. A famous theatre was built to keep the traditions alive and cultural and political events took place very often. At the Shanghai Alley, you can find a replica of the West Han Dynasty Bell (a gift from sister city Guangzhou or Canton). If you are interested in learning more about influential Chinese-Canadians who settle in the area, the alley has been revitalized with signs highlighting the lives of these men.
Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Garden and Park
Sun Yat-Sen is considered the father of the Chinese Republic. The garden was named in his honor. He stayed in Vancouver in three different occasions while traveling the world exposing his nationalistic ideas (or trying to get funds for his nationalistic movements). The garden is the first full size garden built outside China (masters from the country came to build the garden). There is a fee to enter the garden. On the other hand, there is the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Park which is free. However, it was built in Chinese style with North American materials (the garden materials came from China).
Beautiful murals can be seen in different walls in the area.
As always, it is cool to walk around and take a look at what is sold on the streets. There was a vast variety of fruits, vegetables, fish, dried seafood, herbs and tea. I even saw the weirdest type of mushroom I have seen in my life. Plus, I saw a guy who was preparing (or filleting) lobsters. I am sure his mastership rivals any chef working in a big city restaurant.
Picturesque Stores and Shops
I just loved the stores and shops in the area. You can be hours and hours trying o figure out what is inside all those jars.
There are many other attractions in the area. For example,
- Sam Kee Building
- China Gate
- Chinese Zodiac Mosaic
- Chinese Cultural Centre Museum, Archives and Military Museum
- Canadian Chinese Monument
- The Andy Livingstone Park limits the neighborhood
- I learned that the narrowest commercial building in the world is in the area. Too bad I didn’t know that when I visited.
And of course, there is always the opportunity to find those weird sights that seem to appear from nowhere. Can you tell me what you see in the photo below?
What is your favorite Chinatown? Let me know in the comments section below.