- Victoria's Chinatown
National Historic District
For many decades, Victoria was the main port of entry for Chinese
immigrants to Canada. Victoria's Chinatown recalls that era. This
four-block district is the oldest surviving Chinatown in Canada. From
the mid-19th to the early-20th century, Victoria's Chinatown had the
largest Chinese population of any city in Canada.
It features buildings
entirely typical of their period and many distinctive elements such
as colourful flared roofs, narrow passageways and hidden courtyards,
which speak of the citizens' cultural roots. In 1909, the Chinese
residents built their own school. It is till used for community programs.
The Gate of Harmonious Interest was erected in 1981 to emphasize the
cultural character of the district.
Dr. David C. Lai
Department of Sociology,
University of Victoria,
- The Chinese Cemetery
National Historic Site
This place, chosen in
1903 for its harmonized elements of nature expressing the principles
of feng sui, is a significant legacy of the first Canadians of Chinese
origin. Traditionally it was a sanctuary of temporary repose before
final internment in China, a pattern which reflected the early aspirations
of these immigrants to return to their homeland. After the Sino-Japanese
war broke out in 1937, it was no longer possible to ship remains back
to China. At a mass reburial in 1961, bones from across Canada, long
since readied for China, were finally laid to rest there.
See Victoria's Chinatown
- Commemoration of
the Construction of the CPR Railway by the Chinese
This commemoration includes
a plaque located at Yale, British Columbia, which reads:
"In the early 1880s contractor
Andrew Onderdonk brought thousands of labourers from China to help
build the Pacific Railway through the mountains of British Columbia.
About three-quarters of the men who worked on the section between
the Pacific and Craigellachie were Chinese. Although considered excellent
workers, they received only a dollar a day, half the pay of a white
worker. Hundreds of Chinese died from accidents or illness, for the
work was dangerous and living conditions poor. Those who remained
in Canada when the railway was completed securely established the
basis of British Columbia's Chinese community."