David Cheunyan LAI (University of Victoria), Chinatowns: from Slums to Tourist Destinations,
English/ 21 pages, July 2009.

Abstrat
Before the Second World War, “Chinatown” in Canada was conceived by Westerners as a
Chinese slum or an evil enclave although it was considered by Chinese themselves as a home, a
sanctuary and a training basic. Like a living organism, an Old Chinatown is constantly evolving and
follows a common pattern in the course of their development. I devised a stage-development model to
explain this evolution. After the late 1960s, new immigrants to Canada came from many lands and
cultures: Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, Southeast Asia, Britain, and other places. They have
transformed Chinatowns in Canada and many Old Chinatowns have been rehabilitated. They are now
conceived as historical districts, Chinese cultural hearths and tourist destinations. I classify today’s
Chinatowns into six groups: Reconstructed Historic Chinatowns, Old Chinatowns, Rehabilitated
Chinatowns, Replaced Chinatowns, New Chinatowns, and Asian-themed Malls.