Posts Tagged "Feds"


Feds pledge $500,000 for Vancouver’s Chinatown Storytelling Centre

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The future home of the Chinatown Storytelling Centre on 168 East Pender St. in the heart of Chinatown in Vancouver.

Arlen Redekop / PNG

Jack Wong is a third-generation Vancouverite whose grandfather came to Canada in the 1800s.

Wong lives in Richmond now, but Vancouver’s Chinatown holds a special place in his heart.

“I remember coming to Chinatown as a kid. It was our home,” said Wong, a director and treasurer of the Vancouver Chinatown Foundation, a non-profit group that works to revitalize and preserve the cultural heritage of the historic neighbourhood.

One of the foundation’s projects is the establishment of the Chinatown Storytelling Centre, a purpose-built cultural space on 168 East Pender St., set to open in early 2020.

On Monday, the federal government announced it was investing $500,000 toward the building of the centre — part of nearly $5 million in infrastructure funding earmarked for 47 arts, culture and heritage organizations across the province.

“Every building, every alleyway, storefront and street sign has untold stories about the history of Vancouver’s Chinatown,” said Mary Ng, minister of Small Business and Export Promotion, who made the announcement at the Dr. Sun Yat-sen Classical Chinese Garden.

Mary Ng, minister of Small Business and Export Promotion, at Dr. Sun Yat-sen Classical Chinese Garden in Chinatown in Vancouver on Aug. 26.

Arlen Redekop /


“Until now these stories had never really had a permanent home to showcase and honour the richness of this neighbourhood and the important contributions of Chinese-Canadians.”

The funds will go toward retrofitting the former Bank of Montreal building into a 4,000-square-foot facility that would feature permanent and temporary exhibition spaces, presentation spaces, and a shop with cultural and educational items.

The centre will highlight the experience of early Chinese-Canadian pioneers who helped build Vancouver and Canada, as well as share the more contemporary “living heritage” of the neighbourhood and its residents.

Permanent exhibits will include ones of the history of the trans-Canada railway, the creation of Chinatown, the impact of the head tax on Chinese-Canadians, the fight for citizenship and continuing challenges faced by Chinatowns in North America.

Wong said the centre isn’t going to be a museum. Instead of artifacts, stories are going to be front-and-centre.

“We’re going to ask people in the community to bring in their stories … some of the pioneering families they can come share their photos and stories, and that will be part of the exhibit,” he said.

Jack Wong, who sits on the board of directors of the Vancouver Chinatown Foundation, talks about the Chinatown Storytelling Centre, slated to open in early 2020.

Arlen Redekop /


The stories could be told through live presentations or videos, he explained. There could be photo and objects, but the focus would be less on the objects, but on the stories they tell.

The centre has a fundraising goal of $10 million. A representative of the foundation declined to say where the organization is at in terms of reaching that target. Perhaps more than the dollar amount, the funding is important because it signifies support from its partners, including the federal government.

“This shows that they have interest and they have the commitment to telling the historical stories of Chinese-Canadian history in this country,” said Wong.

The federal funding came from Canadian Heritage’s Canada Cultural Spaces Fund. Projects funded range from an accessibility lift at the Kitimat Museum and Archives to new lights at New Westminster’s Massey Theatre.

The largest grant, for more than $725,000, was given to the Vancouver Symphony Society for a digital concert-hall upgrade at the Orpheum Theatre.

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Feds announce $1 million for Pride Vancouver to encourage LGBTQ2+ tourism

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Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie Melanie Joly recently announced $1 million in funding each for Pride events in Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto over the next two years.


Organizers say new federal funding will make this summer’s Pride festivities better than ever — and cement Vancouver’s role as a leading LGBTQ2+ travel destination.

Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie Melanie Joly recently announced $1 million in funding each for Pride events in Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto over the next two years.

“It’s not only important for Vancouver Pride to become an international destination,” said Joly, “it’s a very strong message to everyone across the country that they can be themselves and they can feel safe and proud.“

Andrea Arnot, Pride Vancouver’s executive director, says the money will be used to bring back the Davie Street Party, install a licensed patio space and finance inclusivity training for local businesses.

Federal funding will be used in part to will be used to bring back the Davie Street Party, seen here in 2016.

Gerry Kahrmann /


The money will also support long-term projects like events for black, Indigenous, transgender, two-spirit and queer community members and a full accessibility audit of Pride. She says the organization will also look at hosting a powwow for two-spirit members.

“If people don’t see themselves represented at an event, they’re not going to come,” she said. “…. That helps people feel like they’re a part of and that they want to come and attend our event.”

The grant is part of the Canadian Experiences Fund, a $58.5 million investment to diversify and grow Canada’s tourism sector.

Joly says the investment capitalizes on Canada’s status as a destination for LGBTQ2+ tourism, an industry she says is worth as much as $200 billion USD.

“We’re viewed as a safe country to visit with lots of queer activities going on and safer spaces in our city that travellers might not have in their country of origin,” said Arnot.


Vancouver’s Pride Parade, which celebrated its 40th anniversary last year, was ranked as the 42nd best pride parade in the world by travel website HometoGo.

A 2018 survey by Community Marketing and Insights, a San Francisco-based LGBTQ2+ marketing firm, found Vancouver was the third most-popular destination among gay, lesbian and bisexual men and women in Canada behind Toronto and Montreal.

The company, who partnered with the Canadian Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and over a dozen other organizations, also found 79 per cent of LGBTQ2+ travellers with no plans to visit the United States were put off by the policies of the Trump administration.

Joly says events like Pride showcase Canada’s diversity and openness — one of many thing she believes will attract more visitors to the country.

“In Canada, you can be you,” said Joly. “And that’s why we can attract the world to come visit us.”


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