華埠 Chinatown (1883 -)
Chinatown was settled as the homestead for Chinese immigrants brought to build Canada’s first transcontinental railway, the Canadian Pacific Railway. First established in 1883 at 8 Avenue & 2 Street SE where the Calgary Municipal Building is today, it was relocated to 10 Avenue & 1 Street SW after the Great Calgary Fire of 1886. In 1910, the Canadian Northern Railway announced plans for a train station and a hotel in the location of the second Chinatown. Speculation drove up land and property values, resulting in landlords selling their properties and displacing Chinese tenants for a second time. Despite racist opposition, Chinatown moved in 1910 to its third and current location at the foot of the Centre Street Bridge (2 Avenue & Centre Street South). The first building occupied was the Chinese-owned 廣東樓區 Canton Block, built by Chinese business owners. This rare surviving example of the Edwardian Commercial style remains as a community historic resource. Completion of the 中華文化中心 Calgary Chinese Cultural Centre in 1992 signalled Chinatown’s revival. Despite racist discrimination over the years, Chinatown has thrived, and the Chinese community has contributed significantly to Calgary as a multi-cultural city. Its residential, commercial, and corporate mix creates an enclave of Chinese and other East Asian cultures, enjoyed by Calgarians and visitors alike. Community disagreement regarding recent land-use changes led to The City to initiate Calgary’s first Cultural Plan, the Chinatown Cultural Plan, to be completed in 2022.
To Learn More:
- City of Calgary. Cultural Plan and Local Area Plan Engagement. Tomorrow's Chinatown
- City of Calgary. 2019. Chinatown Historical Context Paper.
- Dawson, Brian J. 1991. Moon Cakes in Gold Mountain: From China to the Canadian Plains. Calgary: Detselig Enterprises. Accessible at Calgary Public Library.
- City of Calgary Planning Dept. 1972. Calgary Chinatown. Calgary: City of Calgary Planning Dept. Accessible at Calgary Public Library.
- Yee, Paul. 2005. Chinatown: An Illustrated History of the Chinese Communities of Victoria, Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Halifax. Toronto: J. Lorimer.
- Century Calgary Publications. 1975. Communities Six: Calgary grows to the northeast and southwest: Pioneers from the Orient. pp.37-48. Online Resource.
- Inventory of Evaluated Historic Resources. Canton Block. Calgary: City of Calgary. Online Resource.
- Chinatown Walking Tour . Heritage Calgary.
- Chinatown Clippings. Accessible at Calgary Public Library.