many years people in the community were concerned that with the
passage of time, the memories and stories that created Vancouver's
Chinatown were fading. In 1998 the senior's housing project and
the office facility were completed by the Chinese Benevolent Association
of Vancouver (CBA) and United Chinese Community Enrichment Services
Society (S.U.C.C.E.S.S.) respectively on Block 17, the site of
the original Chinatown. With this completion and at the urging
of community minded people, the two societies formed a committee
to look at ways to commemorate Vancouver's original Chinatown.
committee known as the Block 17 Commemoration Committee gained
momentum when the City of Guangzhou decided to give Vancouver
a replica of the Han Dynasty (200 BC) bell to honour the 15th
anniversary of the twinning of the two cities. The Committee was
enlarged to include representation from the City of Vancouver,
Vancouver Guangzhou Friendship Society, B. C. Guangdong Business
Council, Chinese Canadian Military Museum Society and the Silk
Road Task Force. The Committee was responsible for the creation
of the Chinatown Heritage Alley - Allan Yap Circle (CHA-AYC).
money and grants were obtained from all three levels of government
and community groups. Fund raising began in earnest in the fall
of 2000 and was completed in January 2002.
bell was installed as the centrepiece of the CHA-AYC with the
ribbon cut on June 26, 2001. It signifies the origins of the early
resident of the original Chinatown. The eight descriptive panels
surrounding the bell reflect the history and activities of the
early residents. The text for the panels was prepared by a team
of expert historians and researchers who volunteered their time
to gather the information through interviews, family records,
old newspapers, magazines and historical documents.
the dedication and hard work of many volunteers, financial support
from all three levels of government and the generosity of many
donors the project was finally completed and the panels unveiled
on February 17, 2002.
In the winter of 2009, the Wong family of Vancouver included this project onto their website, www.generAsian.ca to share and to maintain this knowledge for all to enjoy.