The Victoria Chinatown isn't the largest neighborhood of its kind in the world, but that doesn't mean there isn’t plenty to see here for visitors. Founded in 1858, it is the oldest Chinatown in Canada and ranks second when it comes to the oldest Chinatown neighborhoods in North America. Only the San Francisco Chinatown has existed longer. As such, this district in Victoria has significant historical appeal.
In 1911, the Victoria Chinatown neighborhood reached its peak. At the time, it covered approximately six city blocks on the northern end of downtown Victoria. Over time, it has become more compact and concentrated. Expanding over an area of two square blocks, it calls the 500-600 block of Fisgard Street home. Well-preserved buildings offer testament to the area's history, and no visit would be complete without a stroll down Fan Tan Alley. This street is the narrowest commercial street that you will find anywhere in Canada.
The Chinatown district of Victoria is among the city's most popular attractions. Simply strolling through this National Historic Site is enjoyable, though you might not make it far before the temptation to drop into a shop, gallery, or café sets in. It is a fun neighborhood to poke around, and there is bound to be something that catches your interest. The local restaurants can certainly satisfy a taste for Chinese food should the craving arise during your Victoria vacation.
The Victoria Chinatown district plays host to special events from time to time. As such, anyone who has a general interest in Victoria events might check to see what's going on in the area while in town. The king of the Victoria BC Chinatown events is the Chinese New Year. Actually a mix of events, it lasts around two weeks and typically takes place in February. Among the highlights is a colorful parade.
Another larger Victoria Chinatown event is the Dragon Boat Festival. Held along the beautiful Inner Harbour of Victoria, this fun festival sees some 90 different dragon boat teams competing in a race across a special water course. It's not all about the race when it comes to this three-day event in August, however. There are live entertainment performances, arts and crafts opportunities, and other things to help keep festival guests occupied.
Plenty of Victoria tours include some time in the Chinatown district, and there are tours that also focus on the area exclusively. Knowledgeable guides provide insight into the neighborhood on these tours, and during the Chinese New Year season, the holiday's tradition and symbolism is given special attention.