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Ethnic enclave: Vancouver Chinatown - Research Paper Example

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While there are numerous ethnic enclaves across the United States of America and Canada, this paper will focus on Vancouver’s Chinatown as a case study. The paper will specifically discuss the history, location, and relevance of the enclave. …
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Ethnic enclave: Vancouver Chinatown
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Download file to see previous pages Vancouver’s Chinatown is known to be among the largest Chinatown in Canada. The town which is found in British Columbia is surrounded by Strathcona to the east and part of the Financial and Central Business Districts to the west. It also neighbors Downtown Eastside, Gastown and old Japantown. The Chinatown has its center on Pender Street and unofficially extends into Downtown Eastside. According to official records held by the authorities of the City of Vancouver, the town lies between Georgia, Gore, Pender, Hastings, and Taylor Streets in terms of geographic location . It is noted to be one of the biggest Chinese enclaves in North America.
The different Chinatowns that came into being in Canada were formed as a result of different specific circumstances that surrounded the Chinese populations that migrated thereto . The formation of the Vancouver Chinese ethic enclave can be traced to the 1860s with the main attractions to Chinese settlement in British Columbia then being coal mining and gold . The Chinese who migrated to Vancouver and other Chinatowns in Canada between the 1860s and 1880s originated mainly from Guang Dong. They came to Canada from their native land through labor agents and formed enclaves owing to their ignorance of the English language and the dislike of the host society toward them. The Chinese workers often suffered discrimination and physical violence from the largely white society especially at the time when the construction of the railroad was coming to a close in the mid 1880s .67. Like many other Chinese enclaves in Canada, the Vancouver Chinatown started as a residential cluster in which Chinese immigrants were temporarily sheltered by their employers as they worked in the mines8. Chinatown then amounted to a limited number of poorly constructed shacks and some stores for the immigrant workers. The government’s policy then also shaped how the Chinese migrated to China. The head taxes that were imposed by the Canadian government between 1885 and 1903 made it virtually impossible for women of Chinese background to move into Canada. Furthermore, the institution of the Exclusion Act of 1923 made it impossible for the Chinese to settle in the country9. Chinatown in Vancouver initially was reputed as an “unhealthy and dangerous part of the city. Originally, it was more of a social construct created by public discourse rather than a physical area in actual existence”10. In fact, as presented by politicians and public opinion, the place largely was associated with negative connotations including crime, filth, otherness, opium dens and mystery. However, these associations slowly changed over time as evidenced in the nineteenth century. Although the place remained notable for its brothels and gambling dens, establishments such as churches and temples sprung into growth in the area. The place earned association with distant husbands and Chinese bachelors even as the immigrants started owning properties especially through organizations. In the 1950s and 1960s, the Chinese immigrants and their children started forming strong associations that were aimed at saving their neighborhoods which were greatly under threat of destruction owing to political pressures11. They also started ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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