Victoria Chinatown Museum Society Pop-Up Exhibit Now Open

exterior of Victoria Chinatown museum pop-up exhibit
Exterior of Victoria Chinatown museum society's pop-up exhibit in Fan Tan Alley, Victoria. Photo by Belle White.

The narrowest street in Canada has a new addition to its lineup of intensely local stores and eateries. A Chinese Canadian Museum Pop-up Exhibit has officially opened at #103-3 Fan Tan Alley in downtown Victoria.

The Exhibit is a partnership between the newly formed Victoria Chinatown Museum Society, the Royal BC Museum and the Salient Group. Titled “Peering into the Past, Celebrating Canada’s Oldest Chinatown,” it is designed to celebrate the oldest-known Chinese Freemason’s Lantern in Victoria.

Former Victoria Mayor Alan Lowe is a founding member and Chair of the Victoria Chinatown Museum Society, working alongside Thomas Chan, John Adams and Winnie Lee. He says the Exhibit “will create initial profile for our Society as we begin work on our ultimate goal of building a permanent Chinese Canadian Museum in Victoria. It will be an introduction, inspiration and invitation to learn.”

The proposed museum will serve as a tribute to the vital role the Chinese community plays in the cultural fabric of the City of Victoria and British Columbia.

“Our museum will be a living museum,” says Lowe. “The stories of Chinese Canadian pioneers within Victoria’s Chinatown, which was designated as a National Historic Site, will become a hub for learning, tourism and celebration.”

Officials open the Victoria Chinatown Museum Society's Pop-Up Exhibit in Fan Tan Alley
Community leaders and city officials open the Pop-Up Exhibit “Peering into the Past, Celebrating Victoria’s oldest Chinatown.” Photo courtesy of the Royal BC Museum.

The B.C. Government recently announced that it intends to promote the contributions of Chinese Canadians to the province, honouring their history and their living heritage.

The province has invested $10 million to establish a Chinese Canadian Museum, the first in Canada. That investment includes $2 million to complete its planning and development and $8 million for an endowment to provide ongoing support. The museum includes a provincial hub in Vancouver Chinatown, multiple regional hubs and spokes throughout B.C. (including the capital region through a partnership with the Victoria Chinatown Museum Society), and an online portal and digital experiences for historical locations throughout the province.

“We’ve been working closely with the community for years and it has told us how important this museum is for everyone in B.C.,” said Premier John Horgan. “We are at a critical point when it comes to conversations about race, inequality and injustice in this province. Now is the time to come together to share the stories about how our province got to where it is – and to have conversations about where we want it to go.”

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