May 16, 2018 — Jul 24, 2019

Beyond Pender Forum Series

July 24, 2019 | 7:00 – 9:00pm

Beyond Pandas: History vs. Popular Imagination of Chinatowns

From gambling dens, tunnels, and pandas, to “exotic” foods, there has been a long history of Chinatowns being misunderstood and misrepresented. The popular imagination of Chinatowns is based on large urban centres (e.g. in Victoria and Vancouver). However, settlements of Chinese have dotted the landscape for as long as BC has been a province. They differed in size, appearance, and significance/purpose.

This is unlike media depictions, with an emphasis on a locale veiled in “mystique” and/or the back drop to an action crime thriller. Stereotypes, often negative, abound of the people and place, which continue to populate the imagination of visitors to Chinatowns. It’s a one-dimensional perspective. What are Chinatowns but the safe spaces where early Chinese lived, worked, and created community? They are places of social complexity that continue to evolve and to be ‘home.’ That sheen of the exotic past has become a desirable address; its history is being monetized. Whose voices get heard, and what are the stories being told?

In conversation with Professor Imogene Lim (Vancouver Island University), we will discuss the impacts of this evolving history, and explore ways to develop meaningful cultural programming and experiences as the City of Vancouver and the Province of BC commit to a UNESCO nomination.

Let’s change the way we talk about Chinatowns across the province and beyond.

Register for this free event. Please use the entrance on Carrall St.

About Beyond Pender

Throughout 2018-2020, the Chinese Canadian Historical Society of British ColumbiaHeritage Vancouver Society, and Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Classical Garden will conduct public outreach and education regarding people-centred approaches towards sustaining and cultivating living heritage.

We will offer a series of free forums and learning opportunities in diverse formats featuring speakers experienced in the field locally and internationally; workshops with policy proposals; guided walkarounds; and online media. In particular, this engagement will complement and serve as a foundation for understanding and participating in Vancouver Chinatown’s bid to be an UNESCO World Heritage Site.

By combining our expertise and resources, we will provide a range of opportunities to examine heritage in general and as it applies to Chinatown. Beyond Pender will present contemporary and evolving perspectives of what constitutes heritage, and the significant social role it plays in bettering communities. This series will also explore the UNESCO application process and the possibilities of what UNESCO World Heritage status could mean and do for Vancouver’s Chinatown and the city.

Past sessions

April 10, 2019 

What is Cultural Tourism in Chinatown?

Vancouver’s Chinatown is one of the most unique neighbourhoods in the city and is rich in its cultural heritage. Join us for a conversation on how we can create deeper cultural experiences for visitors and tourists in Chinatown, as the City & Province commit to a UNESCO nomination.

We have invited representatives from Indigenous Tourism BC and Tourism Vancouver to share their experience and insights. We will explore examples of cultural tourism, why it is gaining momentum as a strategy for sustainable community building, and why it is relevant to Chinatown.

You will not want to miss this Beyond Pender session if you are:

  • a person who is passionate about Chinatown and its future
  • a student or professional studying or practicing tourism
  • a business/tourism operator seeking innovation and growth
  • a community organizer or planner looking for holistic strategies

Guest speakers:

Paula Amos – Director, Partnerships & Corporate Initiatives (Indigenous Tourism BC)
Ted Lee – Chief Financial Officer & Commercial Director (Tourism Vancouver)
Henry Tso – Chief Operating Officer & Chief Financial Officer (Indigenous Tourism BC)

July 25, 2018

UNESCO World Heritage Site: Business Opportunities for Vancouver’s Chinatown

Join us for a conversation on the benefits for food, retail and businesses in Chinatown, by earning the UNESCO designation. This public forum features Dr. Ho Yin Lee from the University of Hong Kong, and is the second public forum in our Beyond Pender series.

The initiative to apply for UNESCO World Heritage status is one of the recommendations put forward by the Historical Discrimination Against Chinese People in Vancouver Advisory Group’s final report, which was approved by Vancouver’s City Council on 1 November 2017. Promoting Chinatown’s cultural heritage sustainably and respectfully is an integral part of the city’s ongoing reconciliation efforts. The Chinese Canadian Historical Society, Heritage Vancouver Society, and Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden are pleased to contribute to this important process by taking the lead to facilitate conversations about the UNESCO World Heritage designation with local communities and concerned parties.

May 16, 2018 (Repeat session July 4, 2018)

Dim Sum, Dried Lizards and Empty Parking Lots: Understanding Cultural Landscapes with Bill Yuen, Executive Director of Heritage Vancouver Society

This session challenges traditional understandings of heritage that focus largely on architectural works and grand monuments. Contemporary understanding and practice is actually quite different and complex. Rather than focusing exclusively on physical objects, cultural landscapes focus on relationships between people and their environment and the interrelationships between tangible and intangible aspects of a place.

​We will use a range of examples from across the world, to introduce this complex form of heritage. A discussion of values based heritage will be an important part of this and we will take a short delve into the intangible heritage values work done for Chinatown in 2015 as an illustration. We will also tie this in with the concepts of “authenticity” and “integrity” as a basis for understanding UNESCO World Heritage and see what they mean and how they are applied in real life with real examples. Although there are a few technical concepts, we will do our best to convey them in an easy to follow way and ensure the session is interactive and thought provoking! We also take some time to have a conversation with participants about how all these ideas apply in Chinatown.

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