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Awakening Chinatown in Victoria preserves the past, embraces the future

Everyone’s welcome to celebrate culture with a free, one-day event in Canada’s oldest Chinatown

Grace Sneddon fondly remembers playing in the streets of Victoria’s Chinatown as a child, where older bachelors who lived in Theatre Alley served as babysitters.

“All these extra grandfathers watched me play, fed me little treats and looked after me and I have never felt so loved,” Sneddon said during the official launch of the third annual Awakening Chinatown festival.

“That’s what this community is all about, it’s about a collective society who cares about each other, that’s what Chinatown is all about.

“These stories are important and we want to share these stories, and we share them through many venues.”

Among those is Awakening Chinatown, a one-day, free, family celebration that fills the 500-block of Fisgard Street in the oldest Chinatown in Canada.

A schedule of events for Awakening Chinatown on Sunday (May 26).

“We invite you to join us to hear our stories and to learn about our lived experiences and more about our Chinese culture, we are so proud of it,” said Sneddon, board chair for the Victoria Chinatown Museum Society. “It’s fitting that this theme for this year is ‘preserving the past, embracing the future, amplifying Asian Canadian legacy.’ This what centres the goals of the Victoria Chinatown Museum Society.”

Interactive activities include performances on stage, both traditional and contemporary, an opportunity to practice calligraphy, create a dragon and learn Chinese chess, checkers, and mahjong. There will be tours of the Tam Kung Temple and ample opportunity for food and shopping.

“What you will expect is a fun day for the family filled with interactive experiences full of a chance to see who we are and we are so proud to share our history,” Sneddon said.

Awakening Chinatown is Sunday (May 26) with opening ceremonies at noon and activities running to 5:30 p.m. Learn more at

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Victoria Chinatown Museum Society board chair Grace Sneddon unveils the event schedule for the third annual Awakening Chinatown that fills Fisgard with festivities on May 26. (Christine van Reeuwyk/News Staff)

Christine van Reeuwyk

About the Author: Christine van Reeuwyk

Longtime journalist with the Greater Victoria news team.
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