Federal government kicks in $1.8 million to revitalize Vancouver’s Chinatown
February 14, 2023
By Vancouver Sun
In its heyday, Vancouver’s Chinatown was a tourist mecca. But the historic neighbourhood has been in a long decline, exacerbated by the social troubles of the Downtown Eastside next door.
But there is renewed optimism in Chinatown, largely spurred by the opening of two cultural facilities, the Chinatown Storytelling Centre (which opened in November 2021), and the new Chinese-Canadian Museum (which opens in July).
Monday, the federal government chipped into the revitalization by announcing a $1.8 million grant through the PacifiCan Tourism Relief Fund. About $1.3 million will go to modernizing and upgrading the Chinese Cultural Centre, the Chinatown Storytelling Centre and the Dr. Sun Yat-sen Classical Gardens.
The remaining $500,000 will be used to expand the Light Up Chinatown Festival, a two-day event in September that brought an estimated 10,000 people to Chinatown last year.
The federal minister for International Development, Harjit S. Sajjan, announced the grant at a packed news conference at the storytelling centre on Pender Street.
“This investment is more important than ever,” said Sajjan, who is also the minister responsible for PacifiCan, the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada.
“It’s to remember where we came from, to celebrate the progress, but remember our history. Let’s move forward as we revitalize Chinatown together, with all levels of government and organizations coming together.”
Politicians from every level of government attended the announcement, including Mayor Ken Sim, MP Jenny Kwan and MLA Melanie Mark.
Chinatown has been a civic, provincial and federally recognized heritage district since the 1970s, but there seems to be a fresh recognition of its historic importance.
“Vancouver’s Chinatown has become an enduring symbol of the strength and resilience of Chinese-Canadians,” said Sajjan, “and an important landmark of our city, our province, but I can also say of our country.”