In the mid-1960s, there were direct threats to the existence of Chinatown. City planners came close to demolishing Chinatown. In 1965 a proposal to build an extension to the Bow Trail through Chinatown from east to west threatened to destroy the area. Then, City Hall proposed that major freeways be laid down through the district’s core. Finally, in 1967, a new Centre Street Bridge was recommended - another serious threat to Chinatown. Had the proposal been implemented, Chinatown would have ceased to exist.
The Chinatown community demonstrated its resilience by organizing opposition to these proposals. Determined efforts by the community as a whole led to the city agreeing by 1971 to leave Chinatown intact - for the time being.
In 1973 the third civic freeway proposal was made public. The community again successfully fought the proposal. In 1974, the city was persuaded to officially designate boundaries for Chinatown. They ran from the riverbank to 4th Avenue SW and from 2nd Street SE to 2nd Street SW. A design brief, calling for the revitalization of Chinatown, was officially approved in 1976.
In 1974 work officially began on the Harry Hays Building, a major federal government structure occupying a full block in Chinatown. Some 180 Chinatown residents had to be relocated.
In 1976, Oi Kwan Place, a senior citizen’s residence, was completed.
In 1978 construction began on a building owned by the Mah Society.
In 1979, Bowside Manor, a federal government subsidized project was completed. At roughly the same time, various other businesses were started in Chinatown.
1968-1994 Part 2
Chinatown’s Survival and Expansion
Employment and Occupations
經過華人社區，土地所有者和市政官員之間長達一年半的每週會議和持續的談判，唐人街的區域重建計劃（ARP）被參與該過程的各方一致接受。結果，在隨後的幾年中成功完成了兩個重要的社區項目。於1988年落成，耗資900萬美元的高級住宅項目華英大廈（Wah Ying Mansion）於1992年落成，耗資1,000萬美元的卡爾加里地標性建築“中國文化中心”。振興唐人街。在短短的幾年內，該地區就變成了世界上最整潔而有序的唐人街之一。
The boom of the early 1980s brought another threat to Chinatown from developers seeking new lands for downtown office towers. They wanted to have extremely high density buildings that would threaten the integrity and character of this distinctive district.
The autumn of 1982 was a critical time for Calgary’s Chinatown. Under the land-use redesignation proposal as originally presented to City Council by the Ratepayer’s Association, land use in Chinatown would have been rezoned to an unreasonably high density, in effect making Chinatown an extension of the city core. Chinatown would eventually disintegrate and disappear in the process. Strong opposition to such a proposal was mounted by a small group of community minded people to save Chinatown.
Through weekly meetings and continuous negotiations over the course of a year and a half between the Chinese community, the landowners and City officials, an Area Redevelopment Plan (ARP) for Chinatown was unanimously accepted by all parties involved in the process. As a result, two major community projects were successfully completed in the ensuing years. A nine million dollar senior housing project, Wah Ying Mansion, was completed in 1988 and a ten million dollar Calgary landmark, the Calgary Chinese Cultural Centre, was completed in 1992. Landowners and developers also responded by building new properties to meet the growing needs of a revitalized Chinatown. In just a few short years, the area was transformed into one of the cleanest and most orderly-developed Chinatowns anywhere.
When a group of community-minded individuals committed themselves to undertake the Calgary Chinese Cultural Centre project, they shared a common vision that a properly established cultural centre could help to fulfill the aspirations of their community. Given the opportunity and good leadership, the community could channel its energy and resources to accomplish many meaningful objectives.
The fact that it has taken only eight years to turn the Cultural Centre from pure concept into a magnificent landmark in extremely adverse economic conditions is vivid testimony to the courage, confidence, determination and resourcefulness of the Chinese community.
Cultural barriers and ongoing discrimination forced most early Chinese immigrants to work at menial jobs.
Many opened laundries during the early 1900s, and until about 1940, a Chinese hand laundry could be found in almost every hamlet and town in Alberta. Chinese restaurants and Chinese grocery stores ranked second and third in terms of Chinese businesses, with Chinese restaurants as the major source of employment.
Chinese immigrants had to work very hard to make a living. Restaurants and groceries had to open early in the morning and close late in the evening in order to make a profit. There was often no time for breaks; many worked non-stop seven days a week. Those who worked fifteen to eighteen hours a day received roughly twenty-five to thirty dollars per month. Laundry work was especially wearisome, because it meant the soaking, scrubbing and ironing of clothes solely by hand.
There were a few other occupations available to early Chinese immigrants, such as hotel workers, labourers, market gardeners and domestic servants. In the country-side, Chinese cooks were hired by ranchers.
After 1900, a great number of Chinese immigrants in Calgary were employed as domestic servants, catering to the needs of wealthy Calgarians. Paid twenty-five dollars a month, a Chinese houseboy was quick to give courteous service, and generally worked hard.
1900 年之後， 有不少華人被雇用為家政服務員，為富有的卡爾加里人服務。一個中國男僕每月支付25美元, 一般的中國僕人都甚為勤奮以及任勞任怨。
From 1910 to 1930, significant organizations of the Calgary Chinese community were established, such as the Chi Gong Tong, the Chinese National League, the Chinese Public School, and the Mah Society. The Chinese YMCA, known as the Calgary Chinese Mission, was organized in Chinatown as well. It established Canada’s first all-Chinese hockey team.
In establishing the structure of their community, Chinese adapted traditional institutions to the Canadian environment. Tongs, mutual aid associations, offered frugal accommodation in rooming houses, help finding jobs, or sustenance when jobs couldn’t be found. The tongs were so effective that until the Depression the Chinese community took pride in the fact that not one Chinese-Canadian in Calgary had received charity or been a public charge. Even when unemployed Chinese immigrants rarely resorted to accepting relief during the Depression of the 1930s, they continued to rely on the tongs for food and shelter, as the government, for some reason, gave Chinese half the relief money allocated to other Canadians.
Calgary’s clan associations, which are a crucial component of community life, are composed of members who have the same family name. Clan associations of today fulfil fewer functions than they did many years ago, but they still play a definitive role. Because of the large number of immigrants who have settled in Calgary during the last twenty years, new clan associations have been established. Today there are approximately sixty Chinese organizations in Calgary: various family associations, church groups, athletic clubs, professional and business associations. There are also Chinese schools teaching Cantonese and Mandarin. Annual events such as the Spring Festival, and other multicultural activities are supported by the entire community to retain its fascinating culture.
Formation and Clans of Family Organizations