The Changing Face of Victoria's Chinatown in the 21st Century


Course description

In 1995 Victoria’s Chinatown was designated a national historic site of Canada because it is the oldest surviving Chinatown in Canada, it was the largest urban centre of Chinese population in Canada until the first decade of the twentieth century, and it retains the largest cohesive grouping of heritage buildings of any Chinatown in North America. During the Exclusion Era (1923–1947) Chinatown’s population declined. It increased again in the 1950s but steadily dropped again through the 1960s and 1970s.

Demolition of some buildings and closing of Chinese-owned businesses saw significant changes to the appearance and demographics of Chinatown. However, in the late twentieth century and early years of the present century, urban renewal, heritage conservation and social programs applied to Chinatown have resulted in the re-emergence of Chinatown as a dynamic part of downtown Victoria. Civic policies, private developers and citizen engagement are some of the factors leading to changes.

John Adams will look at the history of Chinatown with emphasis on heritage issues, design guidelines and the changing role of Chinatown’s residents, business owners and traditional Chinese organizations that have been part of the process.

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Info you should know:

Continuing Studies statement on use of educational technology

This course will require the use of Zoom and may use other education technology such as internet-based applications, cloud services, or social media. In order to complete this course you will be required to either consent to the disclosure of your personal information outside of Canada to enable use of these technologies, or work with the Division of Continuing Studies to explore other privacy protective options (such as using an alias or nickname).