Chinatown

Welcome to Victoria’s Chinatown, the oldest major gateway to the past and present of Chinese culture in Canada! It is located along Government Street, Herald Street, Store Street, and Pandora Avenue.

Attractions around the Inner Harbour

The spectacular Chinatown with little sweet shops, cafes and restaurants, famous alleys and hidden courtyards lies just a few blocks from Inner Harbour and minutes away from other downtown sites of interests such as:

  • The Bay Shopping Centre – will bring you back to modern day with a full suite of shops to explore,
  • Empress Hotelwhere one can visit for an afternoon tea,
  • The Inner Harbourwhere to explorer the beauty and magnificence of the surrounding nature along the waterfront,
  • BC Parliament Buildingsteeped in all its history and beautiful architecture is a must see.

Chinatown`s Attractions

  • From the main entrance, Chinatown greets its visitors with the lovely traditional gate called The Gate of Harmonious Interest. This gate can be found on the corner of Fisqard and Government Street in downtown Victoria, it was a gift built in Suzhou, one of Victoria’s sister cities in China.
  • While exploring Chinatown don’t miss a walk on the hidden narrowest street Fan Tan Alley runs south from Fisgard Street several stores west from Government Street. The Alley was illustrated in the 1990 movie “Bird on a Wire” where Goldie Hawn and Mel Gibson ride a motorbike on the alley.
  • Hidden from the public view, Tam KungBuddhist Temple is the oldest of its kind in Canada and adds its own history and unique importance of the Chinese culture to Chinatown.
  • Over a century, Chinatown was able to preserve the old historical building of the Chinese Public School located on 636 Fisgard Street, constructed in 1909. Till today the School offers Chinese languages, culture and art classes for children and adults.

Chinatown’s Marketplace

The alleys in Chinatown have little businesses with worthy Chinese food and Asian goods, it turns into a huge marketplace, where visitors will find:

  • Asian eateries,
  • clothing stores,
  • an old record shop,
  • chocolate shop,
  • bakery,
  • souvenir stores
  • Asian arts and art stores.

Brief History of Chinatown

Diving into the history of Chinatown of Victoria, it was once the major port of entry for Asian immigrants to America. From the 1850s to the 1860s, it was the primary trigger for several thousand Chinese gold miners heading to the Fraser River valley and the Cariboo, and in the 1880s it become the main entry point for the about 15,000 Chinese builders of the Canadian Pacific Railway.

Travelling to Chinatown

If you drive to explore Chinatown, the closest and most convenient parking is in the City of Victoria parkade located at 645 Fisguard Street:

  • First our is free
  • Parking is $2 an hour (billed in 15 minute increments)
  • Evening parking is free Monday to Saturday, from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m.
  • Parking is free all day on Sundays and holidays.

If you use the bus, from:

  • Langford – #50
  • Colwood – # 61 or #50, #52 & #54 then transfer to #50 at Western Exchange Bay 1;
  • Sooke – #61
  • Oak Bay – #2
  • Saanich – # 30, 31 or 72
  • Sidney/Swarts Bay/Airport – #72 or 70

Make sure you have got some cash with you to pay for the bus:

  • $2.50 for a fare
  • $5.00 – day pass
  • Kids under 5 years old – free,
  • Multiple tickets and monthly passes available through BC Transit vendors.