THE #VOICESOFCHINATOWN PROJECT
Vancouver’s Chinatown is considered one of the National Historic Sites of Canada. Yet, most of this designation is associated with the landmarks of this area — such as the buildings and the architecture. While it is true that the physical structures are very important to Chinatown, often times it means the people — those who make these buildings so meaningful — are forgotten.
Our mission is to raise awareness of the real voices in Chinatown.
Chinatown was created through the struggles and resilient hearts of the
people who came here so many years ago. And still today, it’s the people
who bring meaning to Chinatown. Without the people, there is no Chinatown — only a series of empty red buildings and silent streets.
The people of Chinatown can speak for themselves. They should not be silenced.
Instead of assuming what the community wants, we asked them to share with us just why Chinatown is so important. Why things like rezonings can hurt the community.
A multicultural, celebrated space
Although Chinatown is primarily Chinese in demographic, it is not only the Chinese that frequent this area. Throughout the video interviews and the photographs, it is easy to see that Chinatown is a space where people of all walks of life come together.
In fact, the food of Chinatown is very famous — it’s cheap, distinctive, and absolutely delicious, after all!
A changing space?
One of our interviewees says that more people are living here than before, but that the demographic is changing. Though the seniors in Chinatown are a central to the spirit of Chinatown, they are slowly being pushed out by unaffordable rents, language barriers, and expensive shops. But what are we really preserving here in this National Historic Site, if not for the voices and experiences of our elders?
Time to let Chinatown speak for itself
Many of the seniors have been so ignored by these recent
developments that when we interacted with them, they were in fact shocked that we were interested. But this shouldn’t be the case. They, too, are Canadians who should have a say in what happens in their homes.
Let’s stop and listen
Chinatown is part of our history, and should be part of our future.