The funding, announced May 23, will help with the building and space renewal at its new, permanent location at the historic Wing Sang Building at 51 East Pender St. in Vancouver’s Chinatown. It’s set to open its doors July 1.
Museum CEO Dr. Melissa Karmen Lee said the funding, which is through the economic development agency PacifiCan, will help the museum in finishing its first renovation phase and exhibition preparations.
“We are thrilled to open this summer to present historic exhibitions and significant public programs that honour the diverse Chinese Canadian communities across the country.”
The renewal project is a three-phase multi-year project focused on revitalizing and upgrading the 21,000-sq.-ft. building, as well as expanding the amount of exhibition and programming space for future permanent and temporary displays.
“The building’s own storied connections to Chinese Canadian history will provide Canadians with meaningful insight into the incredible journeys of many Chinese Canadians and how they relate to modern-day perspectives,” notes a release.
As the country’s first Chinese Canadian Museum, it will provide a “meaningful and transformative experience for all, connecting Canadians to the diverse and eclectic stories and contributions of generations of Chinese Canadians, past and present – with an eye to the future.”
The museum’s grand-opening exhibition, The Paper Train to the 1923 Chinese Exclusion Act, is curated by Catherine Clement and commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Immigration Act of 1923. The exhibit documents the challenging times and resilience of early Chinese migrants in a “period of excessive red tape and discrimination, as well as the legacies and lessons learned from their sacrifices.”
Museum board chair Grace Wong said the $5.18 million enables them to continue building a provincial museum with a national scope that is “dedicated to showcasing the history, heritage, contributions, and resilience of generations of Chinese Canadians across B.C. and Canada. We look forward to becoming a vital cultural asset that adds vitality to Vancouver’s Chinatown, stimulating tourism, and fostering cultural inclusion.”
This comes on the heels of the $2.2 million announced May 12 to revitalize Vancouver Chinatown. The funding was provided to the Vancouver Chinatown Foundation for the restoration of storefronts and historic neon signs, and lighting upgrades for Chinatown businesses, as well as infrastructure upgrades to the Chinese Cultural Centre.
Foundation chair Carol Lee said Chinatown is more than just a neighbourhood.
“It symbolizes the city’s resilience, perseverance and pride.”
If you go:
- Before the Chinese Canadian Museum’s July 1 opening, visit a temporary exhibition site on the ground floor of the historic Hon Hsing Athletic Club building at 27 East Pender St., Vancouver Chinatown. The site is open Thursday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- In Victoria, home to Canada’s oldest Chinatown – also a National Historic Site – visit a temporary exhibition space on the ground floor of the historic Hoy Sun Association building at #10-#14 Fan Tan Alley, between Fisgard Street and Pandora Avenue. Visit Thursday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Admission to exhibitions is free and walk-ins are welcome, but visitors are encouraged to book tickets in advance due to capacity limits.
- Learn more and book space at chinesecanadianmuseum.ca
Plan your adventures throughout the West Coast at westcoasttraveller.com and follow us on Facebook and Instagram @thewestcoasttraveller. And for the top West Coast Travel stories of the week delivered right to your inbox, sign up for our weekly Armchair Traveller newsletter!