Second Chinatown

The Second Chinatown (1884 – 1908)

Chinese were perceived as unfair labour competition in the local mines, especially during times of high unemployment. This was a racist era and non-whites were often victimised. In 1884, amid growing tensions the company relocated the Chinese quarter outside City limits. The Chinese residents cleared the forest, levelled the site, and erected the buildings themselves, at no cost to the company.

The second Chinatown was a self-contained and self-supporting community, with its own merchants, doctors and entertainers. Because the increasing government head tax discouraged family members from entering the country, the community was predominately male.

In 1908, Mah Bing Kee and Ching Chung Yung bought 43 acres of company land, which included the second Chinatown site. To offset the cost of the purchase, they raised rents. In response, the residents formed the Lun Yick Company (Together We Prosper) and with the help of 4000 shareholders from across Canada purchased 9 acres of land from the coal company near the intersection of Pine and Hecate Streets. The residents then moved the entire community and its buildings to the new location.

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