Victoria’s Chinatown

B.C. cultural recognition receives boost

Aware of any Chinese heritage sites on West Shore or elsewhere in province? Let Heritage B.C. know.

If you know of any areas on the West Shore that are of historical significance to Chinese heritage, now is your chance to help them get recognized.

The province is calling for nominations to formally recognize more locations that are historically important to B.C.’s Chinese community. Up to 10 of the nominated historic places will be officially recognized by the government and placed on the B.C. Register of Historic Places, as well as the Canadian Register of Historic Places.

The Canadian register currently includes 97 records for historic places in British Columbia with Chinese-Canadian heritage values. The call for nominations “is the first milestone in the Historic Places Project,” Steve Thomson, B.C.’s Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations said in a release. “It marks the beginning of implementation of eight legacy recommendations made in the Chinese Historical Wrongs Consultation Final Report issued in May 2014.

“Recognition of sites that have historical significance to Chinese Canadians will serve as an opportunity to celebrate British Columbia’s diversity, and recognize and acknowledge the contributions Chinese Canadians have made to the province – both past and present,” he stated.

Nominations will be accepted until Feb. 20 by Heritage BC, the not-for-profit contracted to administer the process.

Kathryn Molloy, executive director of Heritage BC, hopes this is the first of many similar initiatives to highlight the diverse cultural history of the province. The organization is especially interested in sites outside the major centres of Vancouver and downtown Victoria.

“We’re really looking to reach out into these (smaller) communities and ask people, ‘What do we value in our cultural history, and how should we best acknowledge it?’” she said. “We’re looking to really expand that recognition.”

One of the ways to do that is to make it easier for the public to engage with the process, Molloy said.

Heritage BC is currently working on a “cultural mapping” project which she hopes will help encourage that engagement, where the public can add sites and stories of historical or cultural heritage themselves, as well.

“It’ll be a Google Maps-type thing, except there will be layers of information and history within it.”

The format will make for an interactive historical and cultural experience, kind of like a Wikipedia for B.C. culture mapping.

To find out more about this round of nominations or anything else about heritage sites in B.C., go to heritagebc.ca and have a look around.

mdavies@goldstreamgazette.com

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