The investment from the Government of Canada will enhance infrastructure and tourism experiences in the historic neighbourhood
VANCOUVER, British Columbia–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Vancouver Chinatown Foundation is pleased to announce a $1.8 million investment from the Government of Canada to revitalize the city’s historic Chinatown neighbourhood. The funding will support infrastructure improvements within the neighbourhood, illuminating iconic cultural landmarks and enhancing tourism experiences.
Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada (PacifiCan), announced the investment as part of the PacifiCan’s Tourism Relief Fund. 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.
“Vancouver’s historic Chinatown is a symbol of strength, spirit and resiliency. That is why investing in this neighbourhood is so impactful,” said Minister Sajjan. “Supporting the Vancouver Chinatown Foundation to revitalize this beloved cultural jewel will ensure that Chinatown continues to be a reminder of the contributions of Chinese Canadians, a local economic engine, and an iconic attraction for residents and visitors for generations to come.”
The funding will support the enhancement of iconic neighbourhood buildings, including the Chinese Cultural Centre, the Millennium Gate, the Chinatown Storytelling Centre and the Sun Yat-Sen Classical Gardens, with new lighting, signage, and other improvements.
“On behalf of the Vancouver Chinatown community, we extend our gratitude to Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and the Government of Canada for their support in the revitalization of this historic neighbourhood, said Carol Lee, Chair of the Vancouver Chinatown Foundation. “Chinatown is home to many legacy, new, and small businesses and organizations that rely on tourism as an economic driver. Through infrastructure and cultural landmark enhancements and celebrations of our Chinese Canadian identities, the investment from PacifiCan will reignite a once thriving tourism industry in this neighbourhood.”
This investment will also go toward expanding the Light Up Chinatown! festival, held annually for two days in September in celebration of Vancouver’s Chinatown community. Each year, Light Up Chinatown! illuminates the streets of Chinatown with lanterns and features outdoor performances, traditional food tastings and other family-friendly activities. Last year, the Light Up Chinatown! festival drew over 8,000 visitors to the neighbourhood.
“As we move past the acute phase of the pandemic, Canada’s tourism sector is showing strong signs of growth,” said The Honourable Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance. The Government of Canada’s investments in tourism over the last two years focused on the survival of our visitor economy. As we move to revival and the growth of the sector, we continue to provide targeted support to tourism businesses so they can keep delivering unforgettable experiences. A fully recovered and robust tourism sector is key to our government’s ongoing work in building an economy that works for all Canadians.”
The Vancouver Chinatown Foundation was founded in 2011 to honour a culture and community established in Vancouver more than 130 years ago. 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.
“We are so grateful for the visionary leadership of Carol Lee and truly appreciate the federal support with our ongoing revitalization efforts. This contribution will provide immediate relief to the neighbourhood, improving infrastructure upgrades of our key cultural institutions and buildings as we continue to build a safe, thriving, economically vibrant community,” said Lorraine Lowe, Executive Director of the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. “It’s been an honour working with the Vancouver Chinatown Foundation and other key stakeholders the last couple of years as we have made some significant progress spreading awareness through placemaking and cross-collaborative arts & culture programming.”
“Tourism is an important contributor to the economic sustainability of the neighbourhood and to its cultural attractions,” said Royce Chwin, President and CEO of Destination Vancouver. “At Destination Vancouver, we want to see Chinatown, not just survive, but to thrive and overcome the recent challenges that the neighbourhood has experienced.”
For more information about the Vancouver Chinatown Foundation, please visit www.chinatownfoundation.org.
About the Vancouver Chinatown Foundation
The Vancouver Chinatown Foundation is a registered charity committed to the revitalization of Chinatown, one of Canada’s most iconic neighbourhoods in the historic heart of Vancouver. The Foundation builds more resilient and inclusive communities by promoting the well-being of those in need while preserving Chinatown’s irreplaceable cultural heritage.
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