Victoria could be home to Chinese Historical Museum


WATCH: The B.C. government is looking for a way to celebrate and showcase Chinese history by developing a Chinese historical museum. The idea is to have the hub in Vancouver with smaller locations in prominent sites across Canada. And since the oldest Chinatown in the country is in Victoria, the Chinese community is hoping one of those locations is here. Luisa Alvarez reports.

At the heart of downtown Victoria is Canada’s oldest Chinatown and the rich history is prevalent everywhere you look, especially inside the Sam Yap Chinese Society, which has been around for more than one hundred years.

And member Joseph Leung says the society has a lot they would love to share with the public.

“We have a lot of artifacts that we can display so people can see what the Chinese have been doing for the past hundreds of years in the oldest city in Canada,” said Leung.

The province and the City of Vancouver are seeking to have Vancouver’s Chinatown designated as a United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage site, and are also planning to develop a Chinese Canadian museum.

The idea is to have the main hub in Vancouver with smaller locations in prominent sites across Canada.

And since the Chinese came to Victoria first back in 1858, Victoria City Coun. Charlayne Thornton-Joe says one of the locations should be here.

“The stories of hardship, the stories of hope, the stories of opportunities those are some of the things I’d love to see a museum in Victoria show,” said Thorton-Joe.

And she is confident it would be a hit.

“When you look at tourism, people are always looking for not only sights but real experiential tourism, so they want to see the lives of people from the past,” said Thorton-Joe.

Leung says he loves the idea to share the stories but he says a museum could also serve to inspire younger generations.

“My children they were born here and I hope they can know how we come to establish their identity. I hope they can be proud of where they come from,” said Leung.

Leung adds there would support from the Chinese community who are eager to help.

It is still early in the process but the province is wanting public feedback on the idea.

Input can be given by email by phone (778-698-7746 in Victoria, or 1-800-663-7867 from elsewhere in B.C.), or online until 4:30 p.m. on February 8, 2019, in English, Cantonese, or Mandarin.


Luisa AlvarezLuisa Alvarez

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