New Year celebrations in Victoria BC

December 21, 2015 by Martin Vernon

New Year celebrations in Victoria BC have two distinct opportunities to roll out the old year and welcome in the new. As well as the calendar year, the Chinese New Year is more significant here than in many cities.

Parties and dinners are everywhere in Victoria on New Year’s Eve. Just about every restaurant, pub, club and hotel offers its own brand of celebrations. The sheer variety is impressive: elegantly formal or casual, themed, live music, dancing, and dining options galore. Check with your bed and breakfast innkeeper.

The Chinese New Year on 8th February 2016 is heralded as the new moon rises. New Year celebrations in Victoria BC - the Chinese New YearIn the earlier years of Victoria BC the Chinese community established the oldest Chinatown in Canada as a centre for their community and trading. After a decline, today the influence of the Chinese continues more broadly within the Victoria area and the Chinese New Year is as important as ever. On 14th February, you’ll see cultural demonstrations, displays and parades including dances such as the famous Lion Dance (about 11.00am), all set within the character of Chinatown around Fisgard Street with the Gate of Harmonious Interest and little Fan Tan Alley. Incidentally, the superb Chinatown display at the Royal BC Museum will form the basis of special tours on 2nd, 9th and 11th February at 11.00am.

Victoria’s Chinatown

July 10, 2014 by Martin Vernon

Victoria’s Chinatown, though small, has claims to fame and a bustling character that make it well worth exploring.

  • It is the oldest chinatown in Canada
  • It has the narrowest street in Canada
  • The population 100 years ago was larger than the Victoria downtown population ten years ago

The origins of Victoria’s Chinatown lie in the gold rush of 1858 when Victoria was an entry port for immigrant workers. The Chinese community Victoria's Chinatown - the Gate of Harmonius Interestbecame established servicing the mining operations and later providing a merchandising foundation supporting Victoria. Today’s Chinatown is centred on Fisgard Street with the central feature of the Gate of Harmonious Interest with its stone lions donated by Suzhou, Victoria’s sister city, in 1981.

On Wednesday evenings in the summer, the Chinatown Night Market is held here from 5.00 – 9.00pm – enjoy the entertainment, vendors and, of course, the food.

You can also get the flavour of Chinatown in a favourite section of the Royal BC Museum. As you walk through the reconstructed lanes and houses it is easy too imagine oneself in the teeming life of Victoria’s Chinatown with its shops, gambling dens and opium factories.

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