Vancouver Chinatown Foundation receives $1.8 million to enhance tourism experiences in city’s historic Chinatown

News release

Exterior image of Vancouver's Chinatown district. Image reads: $1.8M to revitalize Vancouver's historic Chinatown

The Government of Canada is making investments across British Columbia to refresh community spaces, attract new visitors, and stimulate local economies

February 13, 2023 – Vancouver, British Columbia – PacifiCan

Chinatown has been an integral part of the social, cultural, and commercial fabric of Vancouver for over 135 years. It has also been a special destination for thousands of tourists keen to experience the kindness, hospitality, and rich history of this community.

Supporting safe and inclusive public spaces and dynamic tourism attractions is key to fostering vibrant communities. They bring together people of all ages and abilities, in turn supporting businesses and boosting economic vitality. Like many tourism-dependant neighbourhoods across Canada, Vancouver’s Chinatown is ready to welcome back residents and visitors alike to enjoy new and improved public spaces and tourism experiences.

Today, the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada (PacifiCan), announced over $1.8 million through PacifiCan’s Tourism Relief Fund to support the Vancouver Chinatown Foundation’s initiative to revitalize the city’s historic Chinatown.

Over $1.3 million of the total investment will be used to modernize iconic neighborhood buildings, including the Chinese Cultural Centre, Chinatown Storytelling Centre and the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Gardens, with new lighting, signage, and other improvements.

The remaining funding will be used to expand the Light Up Chinatown festival, held annually for two days in September in celebration of Vancouver’s Chinatown community. In 2022, the festival drew an estimated 10,000 visitors to the neighbourhood. This investment will help the Vancouver Chinatown Foundation introduce new programs and infrastructure for the 2023 festival.

This funding will help bring new energy to Chinatown by helping the community maintain hundreds of jobs, create up to 50 jobs for underrepresented groups, and attract up to 10,000 domestic and international visitors. 


“Vancouver’s historic Chinatown is a symbol of strength, spirit and resiliency. That is why investing in this neighbourhood is so impactful. Supporting the Vancouver Chinatown Foundation to revitalize this beloved cultural jewel will ensure that Chinatown continues to be a reminder of the contributions of Chinese Canadians, a local economic engine, and an iconic attraction for residents and visitors for generations to come.”
- The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada

“As we move past the acute phase of the pandemic, Canada’s tourism sector is showing strong signs of growth. The Government of Canada’s investments in tourism over the last two years focused on the survival of our visitor economy. As we move to revival and the growth of the sector, we continue to provide targeted support to tourism businesses so they can keep delivering unforgettable experiences. A fully recovered and robust tourism sector is key to our government’s ongoing work in building an economy that works for all Canadians.”
- The Honourable Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance

“On behalf of the Vancouver Chinatown community, we extend our gratitude to Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and the Government of Canada for its support in the revitalization of this historic neighbourhood. Chinatown is home to many legacy and new businesses and organizations that rely on tourism as an economic driver. Through infrastructure and cultural landmark enhancements and celebrations of our Chinese Canadian identities, the investment from PacifiCan will reignite a once thriving tourism industry in this iconic neighbourhood.”
- Carol Lee, Chair, Vancouver Chinatown Foundation 

Quick facts

  • Vancouver’s Chinatown was declared a National Historic Site by the Government of Canada in 2011 and a Historical Site of Significance by the Government of B.C. in 2014.

  • Funding will support the installation of energy efficient lighting, upgraded storefront windows and doors, new signage and awnings, planters and flowerboxes, painting, and refurbished bricks and tiles for several buildings in Chinatown. It will also help enhance the 2023 Light Up Chinatown Festival.

  • Tourism is a major economic driver in Metro Vancouver and contributes approximately $4.8 billion annually to the regional economy and supports over 70,000 full time jobs.

  • PacifiCan is the federal economic development agency dedicated to British Columbians. PacifiCan works with partners who are building innovative businesses, creating quality jobs, and supporting inclusive growth throughout British Columbia.

  • The Tourism Relief Fund program was launched in the summer of 2021 and provides $500 million over two years to help tourism businesses and organizations adapt their operations to meet public health requirements, while investing in products and services to facilitate future growth.

Associated links


Haley Hodgson
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of International Development and Minister Responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada

Jillian Glover
Communications Manager

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