Exploring Vancouver’s Chinatown
Vancouver has the largest Chinatown in Canada and the second largest in North America. It is full of interesting history, architecture and culture and is a wonderful place to spend the day. You can spend countless hours in the little shops which display everything from high end furniture imports and cookware to unique vegetables and herbs in the mini grocery markets. As you explore this vibrant area, spend a little time at the corner of Pender St. and Carroll St. which feature Vancouver Chinatown’s three must-sees: The Millennium Gate, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, and the “Skinny Building.” The best time to go to Vancouver’s Chinatown is on a weekend around dusk when the streets come alive for the night market. Here is a bit more about these attractions:
The Millennium Gate
A symbol of the past and future, the millennium gate is the impressive entrance to Chinatown from the downtown core. The style of this marvel combines both traditional and modern Chinese design and aims to unify the Chinatown community with the surrounding neighbourhoods.
Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
A peaceful oasis from the bustle of the city, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden is the first full-sized Classical Chinese Garden outside China. The Garden aims to achieve harmony through the balance of opposites using the traditions Feng Shui and Taoism. Admission to the east half of the garden is free. There is a fee for the west half of the garden which allows you to wander through the pavilions to learn about Chinese art, history and culture.
The Sam Kee Building
This steel framed building is only 4 feet 11 inches wide on the ground floor making it the narrowest commercial building in the world, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. It is the result of the widening of Pender St. in 1921 and the ingenuity of the property owner Sam Kee and architects Brown and Gillam. This building is also known as the skinny building and it used to house a bathhouse in the basement that extended under the sidewalk.
Chinatown’s Night Market runs every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 6:00p.m. – 11:00 p.m and is open from the May long weekend to Labour Day. Here you’ll find plenty of interesting booths selling everything from fashion and electronic to art and mouth-watering street food. On most evenings there is some sort of cultural entertainment. Check here for the schedule and for directions to Vancouver’s Chinatown Night Market. If you enjoy the Chinatown Night market in Vancouver you may also want to visit the Richmond Night Market which has 250 merchandise booths and 80 food vendors.
To get to Chinatown from Vancouver Extended Stay, take the SkyTrain from Burrard Station to Stadium/Chinatown Station or catch the #22 bus across from Burrard Station and arrive right at the corner of Pender St. and Carroll St. where these attractions are located. There is also street parking in the area.
Book with Vancouver Extended Stay to explore Chinatown, and other Vancouver attractions from the ideal downtown location.
Photo by Natasha Irvine