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Vancouver Culture
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Vancouver Culture
  Vancouver Travel Tip

by Lorry Patton

vancouver_fishmarket.jpg English is the primary language in Vancouver, however, over 36% of Vancouverites speak other languages at home. The Chinese community is the largest. While it's true that there are more Chinese in Toronto (more than 350,000 compared to Vancouver's just under 300,000), according to Stats Canada, Vancouver has the highest per capita. More than 15% percent of Greater Vancouver's residents are Chinese, over 25% in Vancouver proper. However, long before the numbers reached these proportions, Vancouver had a vibrant Chinese community.

I remember our family going downtown to dinner, about three decades ago, as a special treat. I was always dazzled by the neon signs, the seriousness of the service and the delicious food. Our Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau was a guest at one of the restaurants one evening and it made all the papers. Most of the neon signs are no longer there, and most of the diners with the chrome counters and tiled floors are gone, however, they have been replaced with exotic vegetable markets, won ton soup kitchens, wicker and jade shops and herb tea gardens. More and more, it's looking like the kitchens, shops and gardens I saw in China when I visited there.

Back then and now, I remember the parades and the noisy colored dragons when they rang in Chinese New Year.


vancouver_workboats.jpg Other cultures with a strong presence create a quilt of diversity across the city that is separated by a fine thread. Window displays of Saris and Italian shoes and aromas of pasta sauces and curry spices add color and smell to the garish reds and yellows of the storefronts on Commercial, Fraser, Main and Hastings streets. Vietnamese, Filipinos, Japanese and European faces appear on most business streets, giving Vancouver a balance of cultures unique in North America.




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