Awakening Chinatown 2024 celebrates culture and community

Awakening Chinatown
Expect a wide range of performances at Awakening Chinatown 2024. Photo: Michelle Proctor.

Step into the vibrancy and resilience of Chinese heritage during the third Annual Awakening Chinatown festival on Sunday, May 26 from noon to 5:30 pm.

The Victoria Chinatown Museum Society (VCMS), with Lead Sponsor RBC and in alliance with Chinatown businesses, proudly presents this exciting event to commemorate Asian Heritage Month. Discover the heart of community as local businesses and cultural groups come together to host a wealth of activities for all ages.

“Following last year’s overwhelming response, we anticipate an even greater gathering for this year’s festivities,” says Grace Wong Sneddon, Chair of VCMS, who invites everyone to “experience the vibrancy and unity of our community as we celebrate the wonderful tapestry that is Chinatown.”

A sanctuary within the city, Victoria’s Chinatown neighbourhood boasts over 160 years of history. Recognized as a National Historic Site, it remains the oldest Chinatown in Canada and the oldest standing, most architecturally intact Chinatown in North America, preserving its authenticity despite the passage of time.

The Victoria Chinatown Museum Society was formed in 2020 to honour the history, culture, and contribution of Chinese Canadians. The society launched the festival in 2022 as part of its mission to create broader awareness of the integral role Chinese culture plays in weaving the cultural fabric of Greater Victoria. Last year, over 6,000 people attended the festival.

Awakening Chinatown in Victoria's historic Chinatown
Thousands of people attended Awakening Chinatown’s festival in 2023. Photo: Michelle Proctor.

The museum’s goal is to develop a permanent museum that shares the stories of the Chinese Canadians who helped build Victoria into the city it is today, and to enhance the unique tourism experience visitors to Victoria’s Chinatown enjoy. 

“Victoria’s Chinatown is the cradle of the Chinese Canadian community,” says Grace Wong Sneddon. “We want to share how Chinese immigrants shaped this city, province, and country, grow community pride in this unique, special neighbourhood, and celebrate the resilience and agency of the Chinese, one of the first Asian groups in Canada.”

Annette Sabourin, RBC Regional Vice President, Vancouver Island, expressed her delight at once again supporting the much-anticipated festival. “RBC is honoured to serve as returning Lead Sponsor for the Awakening Chinatown festival. We eagerly await the community’s participation in the myriad of activities and performances that are being planned for this year’s event.”

Awakening Chinatown Lion Parade
Photo: Michelle Proctor.

On May 26, festival goers can expect a wide variety of free performances and activities for the whole family, including:

  • The timeless grace of traditional Chinese dances, by youth and adult performers, including Chinese Dance Victoria
  • Vocal performances in various traditional and modern styles, by individuals and groups
  • Drumming, magicians and other Asian performance arts, including Sunshine Fitness Club, Alex Chen and the Victoria Chinese Opera Club
  • Chinese arts and crafts and games
  • Demonstrations of Chinese calligraphy and fortune telling
  • and the chance to meet and learn about Chinese service and community cultural organizations.

Discover more about the event at VictoriaChinatownMuseum.com.