British Columbia

What Chinatown means to you focus of new Vancouver initiative

As Vancouver faces increasing pressure to densify and develop, heritage advocates are asking residents what makes Chinatown special to them.

Heritage BC is asking what makes Chinatown special, in hopes of guiding future development

The annual Lunar New Year celebration is just one of Chinatown's culturally significant events valued within the community, says Heritage BC's Karen Dearlove. (Erik De Castro/Reuters)

As Vancouver faces increasing pressure to densify and develop, heritage conservationists are asking residents to define Chinatown's "intangible heritage values."

"It still has a lot of vibrant activity. It's still a living, breathing place that people go to for a variety of reasons, and is special to people for a variety of reasons," said Karen Dearlove, capacity planner for Heritage BC

Many of those reasons extend beyond the architecture, streetscape and buildings located in the area, she said.

"What are their memories, traditions, experiences with Chinatown? What are the activities, and the sights and the sounds that they associate and value with Chinatown?"

"For a lot of people, it's a place they go to to shop. They have memories of being children and being taken there by their parents.

"Just the day-to-day sights and sounds that they associate with it, such as the colourful produce on display and the bustle of the streets."

Heritage BC is gathering public input this month on behalf of the B.C.'s Ministry of International Trade.

"If we can identify what it is about Chinatown, what are the aspects, the activities that people value and find important, perhaps that will be a really good way to guide any type of future development."

You can submit your input here


To hear the full interview with Karen Dearlove, listen to the audio labelled: Vancouver's intangible Chinatown heritage.

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