For both visitors and locals, Vancouver’s Chinatown is an ideal neighbourhood to visit due to its historical significance, as well as its present offerings in terms of shopping, dining, and entertainment.
This Saturday, the Vancouver Chinatown Business Improvement Area (VCBIA) is encouraging everyone to (re)discover Chinatown in a unique gift promotion.
The area’s popular summer Chinatown Festival has, unfortunately, been postponed a year. However, the VCBIA still wants to celebrate the vibrancy of Chinatown with a “Free Gifts Day,” which takes place Saturday, August 11, 2018 between 11am and 4pm.
Individuals can head to VCBIA office (106 Keefer Street) where, for each receipt of $10 or more spent at a Chinatown merchant on that day, they will be able to spin a “Wheel of Fortune.” Every spin is guaranteed to win a gift (until supplies last). Vendors in Chinatown include Bamboo Village, Ca Wah Herbal Medicine Co., Ltd., and Tinland Kitchen Equipment.
While you’re in the neighbourhood, there are a host of things to see and do. A central cultural stop would be the serenely impressive Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Garden (578 Carall Street), with its Ming Dynasty aesthetics, tranquil ponds, pagodas, and sculpted greenery. Every Friday until August 31, 2018, from 4-5pm, there will be traditional Chinese tea service and guzheng music included with admission. Paul Wong’s “Occupying Chinatown/Haam Sui Fow Wun Goh Wah” is also on until September 23, 2018, the culmination of his year-long artist residency at the Garden.
When you get hungry, there are plenty of food options, such as dim sum at Floata Seafood Restaurant (400-180 Keefer Street), a lip-smacking bowl of vegetarian ramen at Harvest Community Foods (243 Union Street), southern comfort food at Mamie Taylor’s (251 East Georgia Street), well-crafted cocktails and “Cascadian-inspired fare” at Juniper (185 Keefer Street), as well as playful pan-Asian dishes at Torafuku (958 Main Street), located just at the border of Chinatown.
If you’re wanting an insider to guide you through this important historical neighbourhood, there are tour companies available to maximize your time in Chinatown. Robert Sung’s A Wok Around Chinatown provides a thorough cultural and culinary tour of the area, with a walk (10am to 2pm everyday, $80 plus GST, miminum 2 people) that begins at Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Garden, takes you through the streets of Chinatown, visiting its various merchants, and also includes a dim sum lunch.
Meanwhile, Judy Lam Maxwell’s Historical Chinatown Tours offers customized explorations of the neighbourhood that includes unique visits inside key heritage buildings, as well as a food and walking tour, and a Masterclass on Dumplings that features a walk to various food vendors in the area.