Investing in Cultural Infrastructure Projects Across British Columbia, Including Vancouver’s New Chinatown Storytelling Centre

News release

VANCOUVER, August 26, 2019

Cultural infrastructure contributes to the vitality and economic prosperity of communities across the country. It plays a crucial role in bringing Canadians together to experience arts and culture, and to celebrate our rich heritage.

The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion, on behalf of the Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism, today announced $500,000 in funding for the Vancouver Chinatown Foundation in support of the Chinatown Storytelling Centre. This purpose-built cultural archive and community space in Vancouver’s historic Chinatown—the first institution of its kind in Canada—is dedicated to honouring the living heritage of this unique neighbourhood, while bringing to life the multifaceted stories and cultural belongings of Chinese Canadians.

With this funding, the Foundation will retrofit a former bank into the 4,000-square-foot Chinatown Storytelling Centre. This new facility will include permanent exhibition and presentation spaces, temporary special exhibition space, and a shop with cultural and educational items.

Minister Ng also announced investments totalling more than $4.4 million for cultural infrastructure projects by 46 arts, culture and heritage organizations across British Columbia. Funding recipients include the Cranbrook and District Arts Council, the Nanaimo Art Gallery, the Kitimat Museum and Archives, the Vancouver Symphony, and the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre. See the attached backgrounder for more details.

These projects are supported through Canadian Heritage’s Canada Cultural Spaces Fund (CCSF). Funding for projects like these helps fulfil the government’s commitment to support important community infrastructure in cities and towns across Canada.


“Support for cultural spaces is a priority for our government. That’s why we are proud to have invested in these infrastructure projects across British Columbia, which will help build vibrant, culturally diverse, inclusive and connected communities. These projects show how valuable and important cultural spaces are in supporting the growth of Canada’s arts, culture and heritage sectors, as well as our creative economy.”

—The Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism

“As someone with an immigrant story similar to many Canadians, I understand the importance of maintaining ties to one’s heritage and culture. The investment our government made today in the Vancouver Chinatown Storytelling Centre will preserve and honour the history and culture of Vancouver’s Chinatown. I am proud that our investment will enable the sharing of Chinese-Canadian stories in a way that is meaningful and accessible for all Canadians, and that it will support the economic and social growth of one of Vancouver’s oldest communities.”

—The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion

“The Vancouver Chinatown Foundation is very grateful to the Government of Canada for its support of the Chinatown Storytelling Centre. The Storytelling Centre will engage visitors in understanding the contribution of Chinatown to the development of Vancouver. It will also explore the Chinese-Canadian experience and its role in nation building through the lenses of immigration, discrimination, community building, social justice, cultural heritage and our shared intercultural history. The monumental contributions of early Chinese immigrants helped shape the social fabric of Canada, and epitomize the perseverance and resilience of its early pioneers. The Storytelling Centre is truly a transformational project. We hope that it serves as a symbol of Canada’s pride and strength as a multicultural nation.”

—Carol Lee, Chair, Vancouver Chinatown Foundation for Community Revitalization

Quick facts

  • The Vancouver Chinatown Foundation for Community Revitalization was incorporated in 2011 to honour the culture, community and heritage of Vancouver’s Chinatown, dating back more than a century. For more than seven years, the Foundation has worked to preserve Vancouver Chinatown’s tangible and intangible cultural heritage.

  • The Chinatown Storytelling Centre will house a number of permanent exhibits, including ones on the history of building the Trans Canada Railway, the establishment of Vancouver’s Chinatown, the impact of the Head Tax on Chinese Canadians, the Second World War and the fight for citizenship, and the ongoing challenges faced by all Chinatowns in North America.

  • Other cultural infrastructure projects funded across British Columbia include support to cultural hubs; museum and theatre renovations; technical upgrades such as stage, lighting and sound; museological equipment for exhibitions and programing; fire and safety upgrades; and feasibility studies.

  • The Canada Cultural Spaces Fund supports the improvement of physical conditions for arts, heritage, culture and creative innovation. The fund supports renovation and construction projects, the acquisition of specialized equipment and feasibility studies related to cultural spaces.

  • In Budget 2017, the CCSF received an increase of $30 million annually over a 10-year period, starting in 2018, to support creative hubs and other cultural spaces. This additional investment is a part of the social infrastructure component of the Investing in Canada Plan.

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For more information (media only), please contact:

Simon Ross
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage and

Media Relations
Canadian Heritage

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