Nena and I dissembarked from our cruise ship, the Island Princess, in Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada) early morning of Monday, 16 June 2008. It was our first time to be in Vancouver and little did we know about the city. We originally planned on staying for only 2 days but after a number of tours that we made around Vancouver, we just sort of feel in love with the beautiful city, that we decided to extend our stay for another four days ... or a total of six days.

One of the areas we saw in Vancouver was Chinatown. As we walked around Chinatown with our hosts, Peter and Irene Lingbanan, on a Saturday morning, there was a somewhat exotic kind of oriental smell in the air which was unique only within the area of Chinatown ... and so very much different from the other places we visited. Even the Chinese stores and shops we saw looked all so different from the others we saw around Vancouver.

In Chinatown, there are lots of interesting markets with many varieties of fresh and dried seafood and mushrooms. You'll also find inexpensive houseware and traditional Chinese medicine. And Chinatown is becoming more prosperous as new investment and old traditional businesses flourish. Today the neighbourhood is complete with many traditional restaurants, banks, open markets and clinics, tea shops, clothing and other shops catering to the local community and tourists alike.

I learned that Vancouver's Chinatown is one of the largest Chinatowns in North America. In fact, this is North America's second biggest Chinatown, after San Francisco's. Its location is centered on Pender Street. It is surrounded by Gastown and the Downtown Financial and Central Business Districts to the west, remnants of old Japantown and the Downtown Eastside to the north and the residential neighbourhood of Strathcona to the east. The street that borders Chinatown's commercial area are Hastings, Georgia, Gore, and Taylor Streets, although its boundaries extend well into the residential area south of the Downtown Eastside. Main, Pender, and Keefer Streets are the principal areas of commercial activity.

Due to the large ethnic Chinese presence in Vancouver especially represented by multi-generation Chinese Canadians and first-generation immigrants from Hong Kong, the city has been referred to as "Hongcouver". Chinatown remains a popular tourist attraction, but was more recently overshadowed by the newer Asian immigrant business district along No. 3 Road in the Vancouver suburb of Richmond. Many affluent Hong Kong and Taiwanese immigrants have moved there since the late 1980s, coinciding with the increase of Chinese-ethnic retail and restaurants in that area. This new area is designated the "Golden Village" by Tourism Richmond.

And yes, I have taken a number of photographs when I was walking around Chinatown that Saturday morning with Nena, Peter & Irene, and you can view these photos by clicking on the link shown below:

Vancouver's Chinatown

Hopefully the photographs will give you a much better idea as to what Vancouver's Chinatown really looks like.