Additional $10 million in provincial funding for new Chinese Canadian Museum in Vancouver's Chinatown 

Apr 12 2023, 9:20 pm

With two and a half months to go until the opening of the new Chinese Canadian Museum in Vancouver’s historic Chinatown district, the provincial government announced today it will commit an additional $10 million to the attraction.

The new provincial funding will be used to help support the cost of renovation of the physical space that will be home to the museum, and the ongoing operating costs upon opening, which is scheduled for Canada Day 2023, July 1.

This brings the provincial government’s total funding for the museum to over $48.5 million.

The new museum will take over the Wing Sang Building at 51 East Pender Street, which is comprised of Chinatown’s oldest structures, dating back all the way to 1889. The building previously underwent extensive modernization renovations by local real estate firm Rennie, which used the space as both its headquarters office and the private museum housing Bob Rennie’s private art collection, making it a suitable space for the new museum.

“Our government has been working incredibly closely with the Chinese Canadian community to bring Canada’s first museum dedicated to Chinese Canadian history to life,” said Lana Popham, BC’s minister of tourism, arts, culture, and sport, in a statement.

“The historic Wing Sang Building in Vancouver Chinatown will bring people from all over the world to learn about the significant contributions of Chinese Canadians to British Columbia and Canada, both past and present.”

The building’s uses as the home of the Chinese Canadian Museum include permanent and temporary exhibition space, programs, events, and student learning.

“This transformational funding from the Province will support us as we put together the finishing touches towards the museum’s official opening, constructing a space that is aesthetically pleasing and impactful, while sharing the stories of Chinese Canadians with the public in meaningful ways,” said Melissa Karmen Lee, CEO of the Chinese Canadian Museum.

“The impact of offsetting operational costs also means more time and care is dedicated to developing the visitor experience, essential to the museum’s success.”

The building is located within the cultural core of Vancouver’s Chinatown — just across from the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden and the Chinese Cultural Centre, and several of the district’s remaining prominent long-running businesses.

The intent of the museum is to not only provide a hub that acknowledges and celebrates the contributions of Chinese Canadians, but also to help support the revitalization of Chinatown, and reinforce the municipal and provincial government’s ongoing application process for the UNESCO World Heritage Site application for the historic district, which is struggling from the spillover of the Downtown Eastside’s social issues — specifically public disorder, crime, vandalism, theft, and public safety concerns.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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