The Knitting Nurse

Rambles and Travels


Pacific Northwest Part 8 of ? – Victoria, BC’s Chinatown

Almost done sharing info from my trip to the Pacific Northwest.  Good grief I’m behind.

One of my favorite parts of Victoria, BC to poke around was its Chinatown. The oldest in Canada, it’s second in age to only San Francisco’s.  When gold was discovered in B.C’s Fraser  River Canyon in 1858, many folks (about one-third Chinese) came up from CA.  Soon, folks immigrated from China itself. Most were male. The few that made enough money brought over their families.

Born of stick huts, Victoria’s Chinatown rapidly grew into a bustling community of schools, businesses, temples and churches.  A darker side existed in the opium factories, gambling dens and brothels.

1911 was its peak.   A  bit over 3100 people called a six block area home.  To compare, downtown Victoria’s entire population in 2001 was just over 3,000.  A decline in population and size occurred after 1920.

Revitalization efforts have been successful.

At one end, the The Gate of Harmonious Interest greets you. It was built in Suzhou, one of Victoria’s sister cities.

A beautifully detailed mural:

Fan Tan Alley, once a private walkway, now houses retail shops and offices:

Several of Chinatown’s most historic and special places are kept from public view such as the Tam Kung Buddhist Temple.

A Fan Tan Alley doorway:

Colorful stands full of produce and colorful,  imported goods line the street:

This was an interesting part of Victoria to wander about.  Shop owners were friendly (in keeping with my observations of Canadians). I felt comfy and welcomed here and not just a walking wallet.  I’m looking at you, SF’s Chinatown.

A worthy exploration it was!