Chinatown Storytelling Centre Celebrates the Powerful Resilience of the Chinese Canadian Journey, Exhibition Opens November 6

The Vancouver Chinatown Foundation’s highly anticipated Chinatown Storytelling Centre (168 E Pender Street), located in the heart of Chinatown, officially opens on Friday, November 5, 2021. This purpose-built space presents the stories of early Chinese immigrants, whose legendary resilience reshaped not only their own lives, but played a critical role in the building of Canada.

The Chinatown Storytelling Centre is the first permanent space of its kind in Canada with programming, exhibits, and interactive kiosks sharing personal stories and featuring short films that provide opportunities to learn about people and places of significance in Canadian history.

Photographs displayed inside Yucho Chow Studios / Photo: Destination Vancouver

“The Chinatown Storytelling Centre is a central component of the Vancouver Chinatown Foundation’s cultural revitalization efforts,” explains Carol Lee, board chair of the Vancouver Chinatown Foundation. “It has been years in the making, and we are excited for people to visit, learn about the history of those who have come before us, and experience the rich heritage of the Chinese Canadian community, especially those from Vancouver’s Chinatown. Every unique piece of memorabilia, video, photograph, and story has been thoughtfully curated by our dedicated and hardworking team, with contributions from across Canada. We look forward to this space becoming the heart of our community in Chinatown.”

The Chinatown Storytelling Centre features more than 100 story contributions from Chinese Canadians of all ages, social backgrounds, and immigration histories, celebrating the powerful resilience of the Chinese Canadian journey. Its goal is to invite and inspire new ideas and dialogues to be shared.

Chinatown Storytelling Centre highlights include:

Our Stories
Sharing stories ranging from sports to public service, Chinese Canadians have overcome extraordinary challenges and contributed greatly to what Canada is today. Explore our album to read more about the many firsts in our community and how they have broken barriers for themselves and the Asian-Canadian community.

Theatre Space
Located in the centre of the gallery, the theatre showcases Chinese Canadian voices and stories. Archival films, in-house productions, and short films by community partners will be featured in this space.

Yucho Chow Photo Studio
Prolific photographer Yucho Chow opened his first studio in Chinatown in 1906. In our Yucho Chow studio, you’ll find a number of his original photographs, with an opportunity to create your own digital postcard.

Pagoda Phone Booth
Recreated as an interactive storytelling feature, these Chinese-inspired phone booths could once be found in Vancouver’s Chinatown and Strathcona neighbourhoods. Dial a number and listen to personal stories from Chinatown in English and Cantonese.

Augmented Reality
Experience the sights and sounds of Chinatown in the 20th century through our augmented reality app. On our app, you’ll see an interview with a World War II veteran, a peek inside Yucho Chow’s photography studio, and scenes of nightlife in the neighbourhood during the boom years.

“We are incredibly proud of the Chinatown Storytelling Centre and what we hope to achieve for our community and beyond,” adds Howard Jang, director of programming, Chinatown Storytelling Centre. “Our aim is to honour the past, while s

haping the future. This is only the beginning. We are currently working on creative public programming, including workshops, speaker series, and ongoing dialogues on a diverse range of topics. Our goal is to continue to engage the community at large and encourage people to share their stories for generations to come.”

Inside the Chinatown Storytelling Centre / Photo: Destination Vancouver

Chinatown Storytelling Centre officially opens to the public on Saturday, November 6, 2021, and will be open Thursdays to Mondays, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. At launch, admission tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for students and seniors, $8 for youth (12 to 17 years) and free for children 11 years old and under. Annual membership will also be available shortly after launch.

In addition, a special gift shop will also open at launch, adjacent to the Chinatown Storytelling Centre. Named Foo Hung Curios, after the same namesake Chinatown import/export business Bick Lee founded in 1921, it includes a unique selection of home goods, stationery, art and jewellery, all carefully selected to present a celebration of Chinese Canadian and Chinese heritage and traditions that is both familiar and new – comforting and inventive. An online store will be launched in late 2021.

For more information about Chinatown Storytelling Centre, please visit

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