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Historic Shanghai Alley, Vancouver

Historic Shanghai Alley, Vancouver

Historic Alley marks the area of Vancouver's earliest Chinese settlement. Originally comprising Canton and Shanghai alley, this neighborhood housed more than 1,000 Asian-Canadian residents, and was home to stores, restaurants, opera and other cultural activities.

Shanghai Alley was the first part of Historic Alley to be constructed and inhabited. Later, in 1904, Canton Alley was added. Eventually, this was followed by a Chinese-style courtyard surrounded with residential and commercial buildings running in two parallel, southward rows. The heart of Historic Alley was the 500-seat theater, built in 1898, surrounded by restaurants and shops. This gave residents of Chinatown a way to enjoy Chinese-language entertainment, food, and company without having to leave their Vancouver home district, and ultimately resulted in a tightly woven Chinese-Canadian community, within the boundaries of which one could spend their entire life.

The end result of Historical Alley is a Chinatown that is the second largest in all of North America, and one of the most visited by ethnic Chinese from outside of Vancouver. People of all races and nationalities come to Historical Alley for food, shopping, entertainment, and cultural events, as well as to view the Millennium Gate which crowns the Chinatown entrance.

Another key sight to behold here, set in the centre of Shanghai Alley, is the Western Han Dynasty Bell. This bell is a replica of the one unearthed in 1983 during an excavation in Guangzhou, China, and was gifted to the people of Vancouver from the city of Guangzhou on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the two cities twinning. While the original bell dates back over two millennia and symbolizes the age of settlement in the Pearl River delta in Guangzhou, its replica marks the spot of the first Chinese settlement in the lower mainland of British Columbia.

This sight is featured in a self-guided walking tour of Vancouver, Canada within the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" which can be downloaded from iTunes App Store or Google Play. Please download the app to your mobile phone or tablet for travel directions for visiting this sight. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Historic Shanghai Alley on Map

Sight Name: Historic Shanghai Alley
Sight Location: Vancouver, Canada
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Vancouver, Canada

Create Your Own Walk in Vancouver

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Creating your own self-guided walk in Vancouver is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Vancouver Downtown Walking Tour

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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.7 Km or 2.3 Miles
Vancouver Yaletown Walking Tour

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Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.7 Km or 1.1 Miles
Downtown Churches

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Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.0 Km or 1.2 Miles
Granville Island Walking Tour

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Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.1 Km or 0.7 Miles
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A bustling seaport on the west coast of Canada, Vancouver is one of the country's densest and most ethnically diverse metropolises. It is also among British Columbia's youngest cities. Prior to the Europeans, the "Vancouver" area had been inhabited by Aboriginal peoples – Squamish, Musqueam, and Tsleil-Waututh (Burrard), etc. – for almost 10,000 years. The explorer Simon...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.7 Km or 2.3 Miles
Vancouver Chinatown Walking Tour

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Vancouver's Chinatown is North America's second largest Chinese-centered area, and it has long attracted hordes of tourists with its expressive culture, inexpensive but delicious food, and fabulous traditional architecture. Take this self-guided walking tour to explore some of the most magnificent attractions of Vancouver's Chinatown.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.3 Km or 0.8 Miles

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