Chinatown, Montreal

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Chinatown
Quartier Chinois
Neighbourhood
The paifang on Saint Laurent Boulevard
The paifang on Saint Laurent Boulevard
Chinatown is located in Montreal
Chinatown
Chinatown
Location of Chinatown in Montreal
Coordinates: 45°30′27″N 73°33′39″W / 45.50759°N 73.5608°W / 45.50759; -73.5608Coordinates: 45°30′27″N 73°33′39″W / 45.50759°N 73.5608°W / 45.50759; -73.5608
Country Canada
Province Quebec
City Montreal
Borough Ville-Marie
Established 1877
Elevation 70 ft (20 m)

Chinatown in Montreal (French: Le quartier chinois de Montréal; simplified Chinese: 蒙特利尔唐人街; traditional Chinese: 蒙特利爾唐人街; pinyin: Méngtèlì'ěr Tángrénjiē) is located in the area of De la Gauchetière Street in Montreal. The neighborhood contains many Asian restaurants, food markets, and convenience stores as well being home to many of Montreal's East Asian community centres, such as the Montreal Chinese Hospital and the Montreal Chinese Community and Cultural Center.[1]

History[edit]

Dragon dance on Clark Street in 1939
Montreal Chinatown in 1940
A Victoria Day parade on De la Gauchetière Street in the 1945 Montreal Chinatown with the Bell Telephone Building in the background.

The area was once home to Montreal's Jewish community, with thousands of Yiddish speaking immigrants settling in the area from 1890 to 1920, as part of a Jewish quarter centred around Saint Laurent Boulevard.[2]

The first Chinese that created Montreal's Chinatown belonged to the Chan, Hom (Tam), Lee, and Wong clan groups.[3][4] Many Taishan Chinese settled (all following the Leung Family) in the area because they worked for the railways and it was convenient for these occupations. Over the years, Hong Kong Chinese and ethnic Chinese refugees from Vietnam also set up shops and restaurants in the area.

From the 1970s onwards Montreal's Chinatown was subject to many of the cities' redevelopment plans, reducing the size of Chinatown and its expansion.[3] This saw to the expropriation and demolition of over 6 acres of private properties in the construction of the Complexe Guy-Favreau and a city block of Chinatown for the construction of Palais des congrès de Montréal, even as community consultation and negotiations were still on-going.[3][4] Rezoning of areas to the East of Saint Laurent from Chinatown in the 1984's has further prevented the growth expansion of Chinatown businesses.

Features[edit]

Looking down De la Gauchetière Street in Chinatown.

Much of Montreal Chinatown is located on La Gauchetière Street and around Saint Urbain Street and Saint Lawrence Boulevard (boul. Saint-Laurent), between René Lévesque Boulevard and Viger Avenue (Place-d'Armes Montreal metro station), occupying roughly the area of a city block. The part of La Gauchetière that crosses through Chinatown is a pedestrian walkway, making it more inviting for a stroll. On several weekends during the summer, the street becomes a lively outdoor fair. Prior to 1970, a significant part of Chinatown extended west to Jeannes-Mance Street.

Montreal has the most paifang of any Chinatown in Canada, with 4 gates in the:

Montreal's Chinatown is a vibrant nightspot for locals and tourists alike thanks to a special regulation by Montreal's city officials which slates the sector as a tourist area, thus allowing it to continue operations well into the evening. Cantonese seafood, barbecue and dim sum restaurants and Vietnamese Phở eateries are featured in Chinatown. Many local Asian-Canadians frequent the area since the shops offer products directly imported from Mainland China or Vietnam that are difficult to find elsewhere in town. During lobster season, restaurants there are so crowded that it can be difficult to get a seat without a reservation.

Aside from its economic importance in the sector, Montreal's Chinatown actively participate in numerous community activities. The offices of many Chinese newspapers, organizations and associations are located in the surrounding buildings. Moreover, the Chinatown houses the biggest Chinese school of Montreal (over 1500 students) as well as the Montreal Chinese Catholic Mission. Over the years, the Canadian government has continually sought to invest in the area by funding the construction of the Montreal Chinese Hospital and the Montreal Chinese Cultural and Community Center.

Like many other Chinatowns, Montreal also has the annual Miss Chinese Montreal Pageant, where the winner goes on to compete at the Miss Chinese International Pageant, which is usually held in Hong Kong or in mainland China.

Media[edit]

Chinatown, Montreal
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese 蒙特利爾唐人街
Simplified Chinese 蒙特利尔唐人街
Alternative Chinese name
Traditional Chinese 蒙特利爾華埠
Simplified Chinese 蒙特利尔华埠
Second alternative Chinese name
Traditional Chinese 滿地可華埠
Simplified Chinese 满地可华埠
French name
French Le quartier chinois de Montréal

Chinatown was the filming location of the 2008 film release Punisher: War Zone. Some parts of Chinatown were redressed with English-language signage to recreate the atmosphere of Chinatown, Manhattan.

There are Four Chinese language weekly newspapers operating in Montreal: La Grande Époque Montréal, Les Presses Chinoises, Sept Days, and the Luby.

Other Chinese areas[edit]

Chinatown West[edit]

A new Chinatown has begun to develop in the area west of Concordia University in the last fifteen years, particularly along Sainte Catherine Street between Guy Street and Atwater Avenue. It caters primarily to the growing mainland Chinese and East Asian student and immigrant population in the area.[5][6] As of 2006, 22.9% of the area's population were of Chinese origin.[7]

Brossard[edit]

Main article: Brossard

Various Asian-themed malls have arisen along Taschereau Boulevard in the south shore suburb of Brossard, where a significant portion of the population is of Chinese origin.[citation needed] The provincial government of Quebec enticed Hong Kong millionaires to settle and invest in the province, particularly in Brossard.[citation needed] The shopping centres were largely funded by Hong Kong Chinese immigrant investors, some of whom have since returned to Hong Kong or have relocated to larger Chinese immigrant centres such as Toronto and Vancouver. A wide range of Chinese restaurants, grocers, and services can still be found in Brossard.

Gallery[edit]

A bus stop located along Saint-Laurent Boulevard in Chinatown. 
Holiday Inn hotel in Chinatown 
The guardian lions at the paifang 

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Montreal Chinese Cultural Community Centre". Retrieved 13 January 2011. 
  2. ^ deWolf, Chris (28 January 2008). "When Chinatown was a Jewish neighbourhood". Spacing Montreal. Retrieved 10 November 2008. 
  3. ^ a b c Yee, Paul (2005), Chinatown: An illustrated history of the Chinese Communities of Victoria, Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Halifax, Toronto, ON, CAN: James Lorimer & Company Limited 
  4. ^ a b GRAVENOR, KRISTIAN (2005-09-08), Chinatown whispers, The Mirror 21 (12) 
  5. ^ Sam, Cédric (2009-04-14). "Montreal's other Chinatown in 2009". Spacing Montreal. Retrieved 2009-08-13. 
  6. ^ DeWolf, Christopher (2007-02-07). "A New "Chinatown" Grows in Montreal". Urbanphoto.net. Retrieved 2009-08-13. 
  7. ^ Canada 2006 Census - Census Tract 0065.01

External links[edit]