On May 12, 2023 in Canada, the Vancouver Chinatown Foundation celebrated a $2.2 million grant from the Province of British Columbia to support the revitalization efforts of Vancouver, BC’s historic Chinatown neighborhood.
The funding will revitalize storefronts, provide community infrastructure, lighting for businesses across the neighbourhood and upgrade the facade of the Chinese Cultural Centre.
Premier of British Columbia David Eby announced the investment at the Foundation’s Chinatown Storytelling Centre, Canada’s first permanent exhibition space dedicated to telling the stories of the Chinese Canadian journey.
The funds will support the Vancouver Chinatown Foundation’s mission to drive the economic, cultural, and physical revitalization of Chinatown, one of Vancouver’s most historic and culturally significant neighbourhoods, while preserving its irreplaceable cultural heritage.
“Chinatown is more than just a neighbourhood, it is a living part of the shared heritage of this city and this province and this country,” said Eby.
“It’s part of our past, our present and thanks to the commitment of community leaders like the Vancouver Chinatown Foundation, it will be a vital part of our future for generations to come. Our government is proud to support this good work,” he explained.
Local businesses in Chinatown are the heartbeat of the neighborhood.
“We thank Premier Eby for his continued leadership and focus on supporting Chinatown’s small businesses,” said Jordan Eng, President of Vancouver Chinatown Business Improvement Association.
“The businesses in Chinatown have experienced many economic booms and busts, but this period has been one of the toughest in our history. We are thankful for the leadership and vision of Premier David Eby and Carol Lee in their efforts to revitalize our neighbourhood,” he added.
The funding received will go further to support the economic and cultural revitalization efforts throughout the community by supporting resources to local businesses through marketing, training and development of e-commerce.
“Over the past few years, I have witnessed firsthand the struggle many of our local small businesses and organizations across Chinatown have faced,” said Lorraine Lowe, Executive Director of the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden.
“The contribution from Premier Eby and the Province of BC signals a real change in the neighbourhood. This support has brought renewed hope to the community as we aim to create a brighter future in Chinatown,” she continued.
The Vancouver Chinatown Foundation was founded in 2011 to honour a culture and community established in Vancouver more than 130 years ago.
“Vancouver’s Chinatown is more than just a neighbourhood–it symbolizes the city’s resilience, perseverance, and pride. With the contribution from the Province of British Columbia, we will be able to undertake projects that honour the past, embrace the present, and create a thriving community for future generations,” said Carol Lee, Chair of the Vancouver Chinatown Foundation.
“On behalf of all of Chinatown, we thank Premier Eby and the Province of British Columbia for continued support in revitalizing Vancouver’s historic Chinatown,” she concluded.
Examples of this mission in practice include the opening of the Chinatown Storytelling Centre in 2021, a cultural hub in the heart of Chinatown where the Chinese Canadian community can honour and share its stories and cultural heritage; the Foundation’s work to renovate the May Wah Hotel, which provides safe, low-income housing to residents in the Chinatown community; and the 58 West Hastings project, that will provide 231 new homes alongside a 50,000 square foot integrated health centre serving the entire community once complete.
Photo of local entrepreneur William Liu courtesy of Vancouver Chinatown Foundation.
See Vancouver Chinatown Foundation’s Economic Revitalization Program website.