Friday, August 6, 2010

Dim Sum and Art In Chinatown...

One of my favorite places in Vancouver is Chinatown. It's the third largest Chinatown in North America, after New York and San Francisco, and this year Vancouver's Chinatown celebrated its 125th birthday. There are 17 historic buildings in Chinatown, including the Sam Kee Building, which is the narrowest building in the world at 4 ft. 11 in. wide. I love Chinatown for the shopping and the restaurants. The gate to Chinatown, seen here in this picture, was donated by The People's Republic of China in 1986. When you walk through the gate, you really do feel as if you are walking into another country. It's wonderful.

Vancouver's Chinatown offers everything from museums and cultural centres, to bike shops, jewelry stores, grocery stores, furniture and clothing stores, hair salons, clubs and bars, theatres, and even schools.  The restaurants are wonderful, not only in Chinatown, but throughout Vancouver, because of the excellent chefs who have come here from Hong Kong.  With the abundance of fresh seafood here, Vancouver has acquired a reputation as the home of the best Chinese food in the world.  Who knew!  And there is an open-air night market that runs from May to September every year.  Vancouver's Chinatown is also the home of the beautiful Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Garden & Park.

Today as I was strolling through Chinatown, I stumbled upon a man painting murals on the walls of one of the buildings. I stood and watched him paint for a while, and then I ask him if I could take some photographs of his work.  The figures were life-sized, and I almost felt as if they would speak to me at any moment.  Well, in a way they did speak to me, and I thought I would share them with you.





Vancouver's Chinatown has become mostly a tourist attraction now and was declared a historical area along with its next-door-neighbour, Gastown. But the area is currently being revitalized as a major business area in Vancouver, particularly due to its proximity to Yaletown, False Creek, and Downtown Vancouver.  It's really the heart and soul of Vancouver, so if you're ever here, be sure to visit Chinatown, and have some deep fried sesame dumplings.  Yum.  They're my favorite.

14 comments:

Sam Liu said...

The Chinatown in Liverpool is great, we have one of the largest Chinese communities in the world (outside of China of course) of which, I am proud to say, I am part. The food and the atmosphere are brilliant. And the same goes for London's Chinatown - I visit whenever I'm down there.

Vancouver's Chinatown sounds truly wonderful, if ever I am lucky enough to be in your part of the world, I shall most certainly pay it a visit. Hopefully, I'll get to see an artist at work as brilliant as the one you came across - his murals are truly marvellous :D

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Mmmmm. Now I crave Chinese food. Badly. I love San Francisco's and New York's Chinatowns, but have yet to experience the pleasures of Vancouver's. What a perfect day you've had - and I especially love the middle mural pic of the beautiful family. Thanks for sharing!

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Those paintings are beautiful and are a window to a culture and a fascinating history. Wish we could have dim sum together someday in Vancouver.

DJan said...

I've got some friends coming from Boulder next month and this is one place we are going!

lakeviewer said...

Oh yes! Great Chinese food and beautiful sights. Lucky you.

Whitney Lee said...

That sounds fabulous. I would love some fried dumplings...

I love the murals. Thanks for sharing!

The Bug said...

Oh those paintings are great! Although sometimes I get freaked out if they're life-size & well done (why are the people frozen?) LOL. I'm easily startled.

It's almost 11:00 at night here & I could eat some good Chinese food right now!

Single and Sane said...

I didn't know that Vancouver has a Chinatown. Of course I'm sure there's much about Vancouver that I don't know. Thanks for sharing the pictures. Those murals are wonderful.

Margaret

Mean Mama said...

Wow thanks for sharing this Jo. I still have not made that trip to Vancouver I have been talking about, but when I do, I will be sure to visit here. I used to spend a lot of time in S.F.'s Chinatown when I was a girl, but this looks so amazing. The painter was amazing. Thank you.

Russell said...

I'm always impressed by people who paint large murals, especially on the side of a building. This gentleman does beautiful work.

I confess I know the same as nothing about Chinese culture, history or cusine. I have eaten at a few Chinese restaurants over the years. The food was good but I had no appreciation or understanding of what I was eating.

I have read that Vancouver has a very high percentage of Asians and that the city is extremely diverse. I think that is a good thing overall - certainly better than a non-diverse place.

Thanks for sharing these wonderful images and I hope you get rain soon!!

Canarybird said...

How I loved Vancouver's Chinatown when I knew it in the 1960s. It was the place to go for authentic good Chinese food and cheap bamboo curtains and place mats. I remember one day having to go down a back alley there to pick up some musical instruments from a wholesaler and right beside a back door I came upon a fortune cookie factory. My daughter and I peeked inside and thought that was a most interesting experience!
Cheers, Sharon.

Katy said...

Okay... one more reason I need to see Vancover before I die. Your city is a real treasure. Such natural beauty and culture.

What a gift that you had the chance to see this artist at work.

Carol said...

Beautiful art and another intriquing reason to visit your wonderful city. Thanks again for sharing with all of us who cannot be there!

Firefly said...

I got to visit China about two years ago and just loved it. The culture, the history, the people and the food. What an awesome place.