Welcome to Chinatown, Canada

This spring, Canada Post came out with stamps featuring the gates that stand at the entrance to Chinatown in Victoria, Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto, Mississauga, Ottawa and Montreal. Interesting tidbit I didn’t know is that the North gate of Montreal’s Chinatown was donated by the city of Shanghai in 1999. Below are a couple of photos I took of the gates in Montreal.

There are a couple of interesting books about the Chinese communities in Canada. One is by Paul Yee entitled, Chinatown: An Illustrated history of the Chinese Communities of Victoria, Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Halifax.

Chinatown: An illustrated history of the Chinese Communities of Victoria, Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toront

Yee’s book is an interesting collection of stories, historical facts and pictures. Starting in Victoria where Canada’s first Chinatown was established, Yee takes the reader on a cross country tour of each Chinatown. From the gold rush, the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway, the election of Doug Jung, the first Chinese-Canadian Member of Parliament in 1957 to the appointment of Vivian Poy, the first Chinese-Canadian appointed to the Senate in 1998, Yee shows how the Chinese communities grew and evolved to become what they are today.

The other book is by Arlene Chan. The Chinese Community in Toronto, Then and Now.

The Chinese Community in Toronto: Then and Now

In addition to historical facts about the growth of this community, Chan also takes a look at living and growing up Chinese in Toronto. There are also fun tidbits about the Chinese culture. For instance, do you know where the word chopsticks comes from? According to Chan, “chop” means “quick” – “chop chop” is still in use today to mean “hurry.” The Chinese word for chopsticks means “quick sticks” that became “chopsticks” in the English language.

2 thoughts on “Welcome to Chinatown, Canada

  1. Hi Days – Thanks for letting us know about the Chinatown stamps! The gates are all beautiful. Aren’t they all tokens of friendship between each Canadian city and its sister city in China? Here is a book about Victoria’s Chinatown: Inside Chinatown, by Amos (artist) and Wong (principal at Chinese School).

    • Hi May,

      I didn’t know that all of the gates are tokens of friendship. Paul Yee talks a bit about them in his book so I’ll have to go back and read it. Thanks for letting me know about Victoria’s Chinatown. I’ll look for it.

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