3rd annual Awakening Chinatown continues to show revitalization of businesses

File photo.

The third annual Awakening Chinatown has many businesses feeling proud and hopeful to be operating in the historic part of downtown Victoria.

The loud vibrations from traditional Chinese drums, along with dancing lions, entertained hundreds of people who attended the event on Sunday, May 26.

The celebration is hosted by the Victoria Chinatown Museum Society. The society’s chair, Grace Wong Sneddon, says the event was sparked by the desire to help businesses in Canada’s oldest Chinatown from withering away, in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We wanted to give them a chance to revitalize, and so we wanted to wake them up, and so that’s why the lions are here to wake up the business. Many of us grew up here, we played in the streets, we played in allies, and so we couldn’t stand by and not help,” said Wong Sneddon.

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Corbin Mathany owns the Ugly Duckling, which moved into the neighbourhood 13 months ago. Mathany said being in historic Chinatown has been beneficial in shaping his menu and the way the business operates.

“Having this unique angle where we celebrate Chinatown and kind of tie in Vancouver Island ingredients with a little bit of Chinese technique and a little bit of that characteristic has been beneficial to us. It’s given us a bit of an identity that we might not have otherwise had,” said Mathany.

The event coincided with the 22nd year of Asian Heritage Month.

The Society hopes that this awakening event helps to preserve and share the history of Chinese Canadians both from the past and secure Chinatown’s future for generations to come.

Tchadas Leo

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