When people think of Edmonton’s Chinatown, they often don’t immediately think of all the great things that happen there. They think of the problems that part of the city has compared to nearby areas, and they most often avoid it. This is a tragedy, not just for the citizens in Chinatown that contribute to its great food and events, but for the people who don’t get to see all of what Chinatown has to offer.
Shannon Berry, co-organizer of YEG Chinatown Events, has a similar view and is working hard with the community to up its image. With Ice District just down the block, Chinatown could stand to benefit from all the hype of a revitalized downtown. “I have a lot of friends that won’t go into Chinatown because it’s very dimly lit and it hasn’t been well-kept over the years,” she told The Edmonton Journal, “We would like to start bringing people that have either forgotten about Chinatown, or that don’t even know about Chinatown, into the area and show them what it has to offer, helping to support the businesses.”
Working with local businesses and citizens, Berry is kicking off a series of events to help give Chinatown a facelift and some much-needed positive press. Starting with an authentic Chinese meal supplied by local restaurants, Berry has a whole summer of events and fundraisers lined up in anticipation of the Rogers Centre’s grand opening this fall.
The money made from these events and fundraisers will go directly into beautification projects in the area. “It’s going to be beautiful. There’s beautiful lamp posts down there already, but nobody notices them,” Berry says of her plans, “We’ll paint them, clean them up and put up the lanterns. We’ll get those storefronts painted and freshened up.”
Chinatown is a perfect example of Edmonton’s many amazing neighbourhoods that is in need of help. Generating business in the area could help the area grow and succeed, and bring Edmonton’s population closer together.