Asian Heritage Month: An interview with Vancouver’s Chinese Canadian Museum


Growing up in Vancouver’s Chinatown was like being part of a lively, close-knit family. It was my playground, filled with bakeries, storefronts and dim sum restaurants that hold my fondest childhood memories. Shopkeepers would greet me with warm smiles and most knew me by my name — Chinatown was not merely a neighborhood, but it’s where my Chinese heritage blossomed. This was the place where I embraced my Chinese culture.  

While Vancouver’s Chinatown has changed over the years, it still holds pockets of rich Chinese heritage, like the Chinese Canadian Museum (CCM). In celebration of Asian Heritage Month, I had the privilege of learning more about CCM. Join me as we explore how this space honours Chinese heritage.  

Q: Tell us about the CCM

CCM: We were established in March 2020 as an independent non-profit organization to honour the history, contributions, and heritage of Chinese Canadians. Our goal is to educate our visitors through storytelling in our exhibit and we continue to work towards addressing inclusion for all — ensuring every visitor leaves here with a deeper understanding and appreciation of the Chinese Canadian experience. We offer guided tours where a member of our team will walk you through the exhibitions and share rich stories behind each display. We want to inspire present and future generations while recognizing the many contributions of Chinese Canadians to B.C. and Canada as a whole. 

Q: How do you measure the impact that CCM is doing for the Chinese Community?

CCM: Through collaboration and community outreach, we strive to attract more people to Chinatown, and also build awareness digitally. Amplifying voices and ensuring we are always engaging visitors outside of Chinatown is a way we measure our impact, especially with the younger generations. It’s an ongoing goal of ours.  

“The Chinese Canadian Museum represents a cultural heritage celebrating Chinese Canadians and the diversity of our shared human experience.”

— Dr. Melissa Karmen Lee, CEO of the Chinese Canadian Museum. 

Q: How has Vancity helped CMM as your banking partner?

CCM: We are fortunate to receive support from Vancity. CCM participates in the Community Services Package, designed for non-profit organizations like ours. It ensures that our unique banking needs are met effectively, so we can focus on our mission of preserving and displaying the rich heritage of Chinese Canadians here at CCM. We are happy with our service at Vancity.  

Q: What are CCM’s future plans?

CCM: It’s an exciting time for us right now. We are preparing for our grand opening (July 1st, 2023) in our new space, which is the historic Wing Sang Building. The building dates back to 1889 which makes it the oldest building in Vancouver’s Chinatown. The new space will offer exhibits, multipurpose programs and events, and learning spaces for students. Our aim is to open our doors and make strong connections with the community.  

Q: How can people get more involved?

CCM: We are always welcoming the community to get involved, whether it’s through volunteering or donations

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