$1.8 million to enhance tourism experiences in historic Chinatown

Harjit Sajjan. Photos: Sajjan's Twitter

HARJIT S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada (PacifiCan), on Monday announced over $1.8 million through PacifiCan’s Tourism Relief Fund to support the Vancouver Chinatown Foundation’s initiative to revitalize the city’s historic Chinatown.

Over $1.3 million of the total investment will be used to modernize iconic neighborhood buildings, including the Chinese Cultural Centre, Chinatown Storytelling Centre and the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Gardens, with new lighting, signage, and other improvements.

The remaining funding will be used to expand the Light Up Chinatown festival, held annually for two days in September in celebration of Vancouver’s Chinatown community. In 2022, the festival drew an estimated 10,000 visitors to the neighbourhood. This investment will help the Vancouver Chinatown Foundation introduce new programs and infrastructure for the 2023 festival.

This funding will help bring new energy to Chinatown by helping the community maintain hundreds of jobs, create up to 50 jobs for underrepresented groups, and attract up to 10,000 domestic and international visitors.

Sajjan said: “Vancouver’s historic Chinatown is a symbol of strength, spirit and resiliency. That is why investing in this neighbourhood is so impactful. Supporting the Vancouver Chinatown Foundation to revitalize this beloved cultural jewel will ensure that Chinatown continues to be a reminder of the contributions of Chinese Canadians, a local economic engine, and an iconic attraction for residents and visitors for generations to come.”
Carol Lee, Chair, Vancouver Chinatown Foundation, said: “On behalf of the Vancouver Chinatown community, we extend our gratitude to Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and the Government of Canada for its support in the revitalization of this historic neighbourhood. Chinatown is home to many legacy and new businesses and organizations that rely on tourism as an economic driver. Through infrastructure and cultural landmark enhancements and celebrations of our Chinese Canadian identities, the investment from PacifiCan will reignite a once thriving tourism industry in this iconic neighbourhood.”


Quick Facts:

  • Vancouver’s Chinatown was declared a National Historic Site by the Government of Canada in 2011 and a Historical Site of Significance by the Government of B.C. in 2014.
  • Funding will support the installation of energy efficient lighting, upgraded storefront windows and doors, new signage and awnings, planters and flowerboxes, painting, and refurbished bricks and tiles for several buildings in Chinatown. It will also help enhance the 2023 Light Up Chinatown Festival.
  • Tourism is a major economic driver in Metro Vancouver and contributes approximately $4.8 billion annually to the regional economy and supports over 70,000 full time jobs.
  • PacifiCan is the federal economic development agency dedicated to British Columbians. PacifiCan works with partners who are building innovative businesses, creating quality jobs, and supporting inclusive growth throughout British Columbia.
  • The Tourism Relief Fund program was launched in the summer of 2021 and provides $500 million over two years to help tourism businesses and organizations adapt their operations to meet public health requirements, while investing in products and services to facilitate future growth.