Saturday, November 24, Carnegie Community Centre hosted the first community consultation session for an exciting collaborative project being developed by Vancouver artist Henry Tsang. 360º Video Interpretive Walking Tour of 1907 Riots examines the 1907 riots through Vancouver’s Chinatown and Japantown neighbourhoods, the context behind them, and their impact. These consultation sessions are a great opportunity to engage the community in this important piece of history and involve them in the planning process itself.
In the history books, the 1907 Vancouver riots rarely get a mention. Initially a parade and rally organized by the Asiatic Exclusion League, the thousands of participants soon became an angry mob, wreaking havoc for three days in Chinatown and Japantown before the police managed to restore normalcy to the streets. Yet the xenophobia behind the riots marched onwards and upwards, encouraged rather than hampered by politicians and the press. From the Chinese Immigration Act of 1923 to Japanese-Canadian internment during World War II, these major historical events and the discrimination in which they were founded are still informing the present and future of these neighbourhoods.
Using the riots as a lens through which to view the neighbourhood and the anti-Asian sentiment at the time, the 360º Video Interpretive Walking Tour of 1907 Riots is just as much a cultural engagement piece as a historical document. As public preferences shift towards more immersive and authentic experiences, cultural tours are becoming an increasingly prevalent way for locals and visitors alike to gain insight into a city’s history and character. The 1907 riots are an ugly, but integral part of Vancouver’s heritage, and one that we should not be allowed to forget. Bringing images and accounts from this period into the present through 360º video technology, the tour introduces a new way to experience and engage with the neighbourhood and its story.
We would like to thank everyone who came out to our community consultation sessions on November 24 & December 8 to share their input with us. If you were unable to attend, and are interested in learning more about the project or sharing personal family stories, please email [email protected].