Our Story

One of Vancouver’s few distinct cultural historic neighbourhoods, Chinatown has a universal appeal to locals, tourists, as well as a growing number of  emerging chefs, artists, and small business entrepreneurs. The distinct character of buildings are preserved by a heritage designation with murals and window art telling the stories of early Chinese pioneers. Between 1886-1920, the first wave of Chinese immigrants settled around Carrall Street and Dupont (now Pender) Street. By 1890, the area was home to more than 1,000 Chinese residents. One of the earliest community institutions evolved around the creation of the first of three Chinese opera theatres, the first built in 1890s.

In a parallel setting, Canton Alley and Shanghai Alley were named in 1904 with Canton Alley serving as a a point of convergence for trade, political, and cultural activities which fostered the growth and expansion of Chinatown. Today’s Chinatown is a destination neighbourhood attracting people from across British Columbia and also international tourists. With numerous new attractions and activities nearby, Chinatown is the  most complete area with its growing number of renowned restaurants and boutique retail for every budget while honouring the memory of early settlers of our community.

Vancouver Chinatown Business Improvement Area Society

Our Impact on the Local Economy

In the 1990s, the Chinatown business community, through the Vancouver Chinatown Merchants Association (VCMA), began to search for an effective vehicle to fund and implement projects to revitalize the area. Other areas, such as Gastown and Downtown Vancouver had formed Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) to revitalize, with visible success. With the consent and support of the merchants and the property owners in the area, Vancouver Chinatown Merchants Association planned to establish the BIA in the Chinatown sub area.

After several attempts in the 1990s, the VCMA succeeded in obtaining the business and property-owner support required to establish the Vancouver Chinatown BIA Society which incorporated in 2000. The VCBIA is modeled after successful BIAs in other sub areas of Vancouver and mandated to benefit Chinatown’s business prosperity.

VCBIA’s focus is on improving the safety & cleanliness, promotions & events, and working with partners to continuously improve Chinatown. We welcome any and all efforts to improve our public realm and engagement in our community.

What is BIA?

A Business Improvement Area (BIA) is a non-profit association of commercial property owners and business tenants who join together to promote and improve the economic vitality of their business district.

The City assists by helping the merchants and landlords to form BIAs. Once a BIA is formed, it is managed by a volunteer board comprised of property owners and business tenants. BIA funds are used for staff wages and implement BIA activities. The City has a continuing role assisting with contacts between the BIA and City departments, facilitating the annual funding process, and monitoring BIA budgets. BIAs obtain funding through property tax, much like a Local Improvement Levy. Each property owner’s share of the annual BIA budget is proportionate to their share of the total taxable value within the BIA boundaries.

Board of Directors

The Vancouver Chinatown BIA volunteer Board of Directors is comprised of duly elected members from our local business and property owners’ community. Board members donate a considerable amount of time and effort working on your behalf, at the board and committee level, as well as direct BIA funds to hire staff and implement BIA activities.

Working with the City of Vancouver’s BIA Program Coordinator, and adhering to BIA best practices, the Vancouver Chinatown BIA Board of Directors, have implemented a Code of Conduct Policy in 2019 which all board members have signed.

The Board of Directors for 2023-2024

Jordan Eng – President
Chris Chan – Vice-President
David Walker – Vice-President
Henry Tom – Treasurer
Syrus Lee – Operation Officer
Ross Lam – Director
Edmund Ma – Director
Raymond Tam – Director
Kim Tran – Director


Joey Kwan – Executive Director
Trevor Mah – Programs Coordinator

Jessica Wong – Office & Events Administrator
Stephen Cheng

Mandate & Mission

To Develop

Encourage and promote business in the Chinatown Business Improvement Area

To Research & Report

Studies of, and advance any project, plan, or improvement designed to benefit the Chinatown Business Improvement Area

To Promote

Matters of common concern and interest to businesses and property owners in the Chinatown Business Improvement Area, and to bring together businesses and property owners in the Chinatown Business Improvement Area for fulfilling the purposes of the Society.

Promotion of Chinatown

Security Patrol

Encourage and promote business in the Chinatown Business Improvement Area

Graffiti & Alley Cleaning

Vancouver Chinatown BIA Society has been contracting with United We Can in cleaning up the alleys to keep Chinatown tidy and clean. The result has been very encouraging. Vancouver Chinatown BIA Society started the graffiti removal program in wiping out the graffiti in Vancouver Chinatown area. They have contracted a graffiti removal company to clean and paint over graffiti in the area since 2004.

Chinatown Mascot

In 2010, we introduced a mascot that would provide a recognizable identity for Chinatown. This mascot will complement the existing Chinatown culture with Vancouver’s uniqueness and diverse multiculturalism.This one mascot needs to achieve a great deal by itself: appeal to children and tourists from all over the world, represent the local community, and personify the values and essence of Vancouver Chinatown. Van Van has been the face of Chinatown and participates in community events across the city.

Street Banner

The VCBIA makes sure that hundreds of banners are installed on street lighting fixtures throughout Chinatown. They have become one of Chinatown’s unique trademarks and helps identify and beautify the community.

Chinatown Map

The Chinatown Map is distributed to hotels and tourist areas in Greater Vancouver. The Map contains a walking route of historical and scenic attractions for tourists to embark on. There is also a selection of recommendations for food, shopping, public service areas, and festivals and events.

Map of Vancouver Chinatown