Monday, March 11, 2013

Old Chinatown

Some of the first Chinese immigrants were men, who left their families behind and were drawn to the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush of 1858. They later found an opportunity to work on building the Canadian Pacific Railroad.  They mainly settled in Chinatown and slowly began bringing their families and concubines over to settle in Chinatown. Business grew and the area developed into a lively and colourful area. There was a steady influx of immigrants till the second world war. In 1980 it spiked again with most coming from Hong Kong, prior and during the transfer of sovereignty of the former British colony to China. The majority of the new immigrants settled in Richmond where large houses, spacious malls with plenty of parking has sprung up. The smaller vegetable markets could no longer compete with larger concerns such as Cosco and Urban Fair. Merchants have moved or closed shop, leaving the beautiful old buildings behind. The area is in transition and slowly modern merchants are appearing, refurbishing the old buildings with art galleries, coffee shops, beauty salons and interior decor shops. It still has a long way to go but the city is closing in slowly.

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