Chinese Benevolent Association of Vancouver

Origins

In 1909 building was built and Chinese Benevolent Association (CBA) moved in where it has remained since. It was built along Dupont Street, which would later come to be known as Powell Street. The association was modeled after a similar association in Victoria, designed to help the community. While the building does not have the size as some other historical buildings in Vancouver, it was large in the way it helped the surrounding community.


The association has been influential in Vancouver and BC by improving the rights of Chinese immigrants and helping improve and protect the community. The association helped achieve full citizenship status for Chinese Canadians and continued to petition for more amendments to immigration laws to make sure they received equal rights as others. Moreover, the association erected numerous memorials around Vancouver for railway workers as well as Chinese-Canadian soldiers. In the 1960s and 1970s, Vancouver politicians tried to build a freeway that called for the demolition of much of Chinatown to connect with downtown. The CBA fought against the freeway and was able to gather enough support to stop the project from going ahead.

Today

Today the building remains much as it once was when it was first built, with a retail shop on the bottom and the CBA occupying the remaining floors above. The association has also continued to help the surrounding community and has stayed active in local and international politics. They have been actively engaged with yearly events such as the Lunar Year Celebration and Chinese New Yeark Parade. The CBA continues to raise money for disaster relief and elderly care. In 2005, the association helped to organize events for then Chinese President Hu Jintao and has continued to host numerous high ranking Chinese officials.

Work Cited

  • Anderson, Kay. ""Slum Clearance"." Vancouver's Chinatown. Quebec City: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1991. 202-210.
  • Anderson, Kay J. Vancouver's Chinatown. Quebec City: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1991.
  • Aitken, Douglas. "Faces of Vancouver: Chinese Benevolent Association and Chinese Freemasons buildings." The Georgia Straight 18 January 2010. http://www.straight.com/article-281159/vancouver/faces-vancouver-chinese-benevolent-association-and-chinese-freemasons-buildings
  • Chen-Adams, Jessica. "Society Buildings in Chinatown." Chinatown. The City of Vancouver. 30 November 2011 <http://vancouver.ca/commsvcs/planning/chinatown/pdfs/socbldg-english.pdf>.
  • The Vancouver Sun. "The Government of Chinatown." The Vancouver Sun 4 November 2006. http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/westcoastnews/story.html?id=6498c32e-8b63-4fd9-82f0-c0d6870585ec