PE Ledger

The Chinese community in Montreal keeps pushing for a ‘heritage’ title for Chinatown

It’s a pronouncement that has been sought by Chinese authorities for years.

The creation of a working committee between the City of Montreal and the Quebec government to discuss labelling Chinatown a “heritage site” has been welcomed by members of Montreal’s Chinese community.

It’s a pronouncement that has been sought by Chinese authorities for years.

They are concerned that recent commercial growth in the neighbourhood is endangering the district’s cultural history.

“With the Guy Favreau, the Hydro, and the autoroute, the governments have already limited our land so much that we don’t have somewhere else to expand,” May Chiu, a member of the Chinatown Working Group, told Global News.

Mayor Valérie Plante says that attempts are being undertaken to designate Chinatown as a heritage site, but that it won’t happen right away.

During a press conference on Wednesday, she added, “It takes a little bit of time, but we’re conducting this process because it’s necessary.”

According to Tourisme Montreal’s website, Chinatown is one of North America’s oldest Asian communities.

It became a tourist magnet in the 1960s as the city prepared for Expo 67, but some Chinese community members say the district has been showing its age in recent years, with derelict buildings and businesses that need to be remodelled.

They now claim that a capital infusion is required to develop the region and boost the number of visitors.

“These buildings are getting older and harder to maintain, and there has to be more cash for care,” says Charles Xu, operations manager for the Chinatown Working Group.

A designation, according to Montreal’s Chinese community, would go a long way toward preserving the district’s unique culture and helping it develop in the future.

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