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Chinese Canadian Museum opens temporary exhibit in Vancouver’s Chinatown

Chinese Canadian Museum preview opens in Vancouver’s Chinatown
The first exhibit previewing B.C.'s first Chinese Canadian Museum is opening soon. Grace Wong, chair of the Chinese Canadian Museum Society of British Columbia tells us why it's so important to learn about the history of Chinese culture in B.C.

A temporary exhibit that aims to tell the story of Chinese Canadians in Vancouver will be opening to the public Saturday, Aug. 15.

Called A Seat at the Table, it will explore Chinese food and culture and is a preview of what the Chinese Canadian Museum hopes to accomplish.

“That is to capture the long, long history of Chinese Canadians and their contributions to this province, their part in all the communities throughout B.C.,” Grace Wong, chair of the Chinese Canadian Museum Society of British Columbia, told Global News.

“We feel that Chinese-Canadian history in B.C. is B.C history. Early Chinese came at least by the 1800s. They were participating in farming, fishing, mining, laundry and restaurants and so much more.”

“They participated in the world wars, they helped build the railway, which helped connect our country east to west, and much of that through times when they had no status in this country. I think sharing that benefits all of us and it’s something all British Columbians can take pride in.”

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Vancouver bar builds mini golf green in Chinatown
Vancouver bar builds mini golf green in Chinatown

Visitors can also add their personal stories to the exhibit.

“I think some of the images, some of the stories, will bring back so many memories,” Wong added.

Read more: Canadians of Chinese ethnicity report widespread racism over coronavirus: survey

Last November the B.C. government gave the City of Vancouver $1 million to help establish a Chinese-Canadian museum with the goal of creating hubs in other communities to share the history and experience of Chinese immigrants across the province.

The exhibit is located at the Hon Hsing Athletic Club, 27 East Pender St., and is open Friday until Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The exhibit will run through 2021.

Asian communities in Canada have reported name-calling, insults and outright assaults since the novel coronavirus pandemic began.

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And according to a survey from the Angus Reid Institute, done in partnership with the University of Alberta, the problem is widespread.

In an online survey conducted between June 15 and 18, researchers at the Angus Reid Institute and University of Alberta asked 516 Canadians of Chinese ethnicity about their experience with racism during COVID-19.

Read more: Asian communities across Canada report rising racist behaviour during COVID-19 crisis

Half of them indicated being called names or insults as a direct consequence of the outbreak, while 43 per cent said they have faced threats or intimidation.

Vancouver Chinese Cultural Centre attacked with racist vandalism
Vancouver Chinese Cultural Centre attacked with racist vandalism

Vancouver police said earlier this year that they have seen a large increase in reports of anti-Asian hate-motivated incidents.

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Twenty anti-Asian hate crimes have been reported to Vancouver police so far this year, compared to 12 in all of 2019.