Today is the first day of a national month-long celebration of Canada’s culture, arts, and history. Across the country, community organizations are hosting hundreds of free events to share and celebrate the culture of Canada as part of the national initiative known as Culture Days. In Vancouver, On This Spot is hosting several self-guided walking tours of some of the city’s most distinct and historically significant neighbourhoods.
These events are free and easy to access online and through the On This Spot app. Take a walk through Chinatown and learn the history of this vibrant community. Since Vancouver’s first days, Chinese-Canadians have called the city home, forming an integral part of Vancouver society. Today, we cherish this part of the city’s identity and find it difficult to conceive of a Vancouver without its Chinese influence, yet this was not always so. Chinatown exists today because of the struggles of thousands of immigrants who strove to make decent lives for themselves in an unwelcoming land. This tour begins on East Hastings at Carrall Street and includes fifteen stops, ending at Gore Avenue and East Pender Street. It will be available here for the duration of Culture Days and beyond.
Our second tour to celebrate Culture Days explores East Vancouver and its history as a thriving Japanese-Canadian community. For the city’s first fifty years, this neighbourhood was home to thousands of Japanese Canadians who immigrated to Canada and built their lives here. In this tour, we’ll chart the rise of this community, the lives of the Nikkei, and the challenges that they faced. After, we will see how the entire community suddenly disappeared, exiled to internment camps away from the coast during the Second World War, their possessions taken from them and their businesses shuttered. After the war, these Canadians scattered across the country so that no comparable Japanese-Canadian community exists today. This tour, available here, begins at Oppenheimer Park and travels along Cordova Street and then back down Powell Street before turning up towards Alexander Street on Dunlevy Avenue. It includes fifteen stops.
The third Vancouver tour we are featuring today for Culture Days tells the stories of Granville Street, a street that has long taken centre stage in Vancouver life. In this walking tour, we will peel back time to see how Granville Street has evolved over the last 140 years, focusing not so much on the buildings and businesses themselves but on the generations of people who have made this city what it is today. As we walk Granville Street, we will learn about the lives and exploits of pioneer lumberjacks and Vaudeville actresses, corrupt politicians and crooked cops, bootleggers and environmental activists. There are so many stories to tell on Granville Street, and this tour will show you just a few of them. With fifteen stops, it begins near Waterfront Station downtown and follows Granville Street all the way to Drake Street.
On This Spot is promoting more than 40 events throughout the month of Culture Days, so stay tuned for more exciting content!