Four Chinatowns

December 16, 2021

Nanaimo's Chinatowns (1867-1960)...

1924 Townsite Cemetery

Excerpt from Denise Chong’s, The Concubine’s Children

He walked uphill a mile or so, crossed the railway tracks and continued until he came to Pine Street. A makeshift fence stretched across the street, and in front of a gate was a city sign: ‘No Thoroughfare’ . . . Pavement turned to dirt, and as he crested the hill, Chinatown lay before him. Pine Street ran another two hundred or so feet before it ended in a dead end at the edge of the bluff. The street looked like the set of a western movie. It was lined on either side with unpainted one- and two-story wood-frame buildings, some with false fronts, all with overhanging balconies that sagged and careened. The entire scene was bleached by the sun.

Excerpt from Jin Guo (Jean Lumb – reflecting on growing up in the Third Chinatown)

Chinatown was considered a ‘ghetto’ in the small town. We were put in one place, and we didn’t come out of that place because that’s where we were supposed to stay. . . . we learned to stay within our own little Chinatown area. We lived on one street with Chinese people all around us.



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