Although the gold was nowhere close to Victoria, the city was the defacto supply center for the 1858 gold rush on the Fraser River. Thousands of gold miners headed north from San Francisco towards new gold strike claims along the Fraser River, including many Chinese. Soon Victoria grew to become both British Columbia’s biggest city and the home base to Canada’s largest Chinese community.
When Chinatown was founded, in 1858, it was the first in Canada and second in North America, behind the former gold-rush community in San Francisco. Today, it remains a vibrant part of Victoria’s downtown area, even if the local Chinese-Canadian population is considered small compared to many other cities. The impressive Gate of Harmonious Interest marks the entrance to Chinatown and the community reveals itself along Fisgard St.
The recently reopened Dragon Alley, the Chinese Public School and all the many colorful shops will all draw considerable attention, but self-guided visitors shouldn’t miss the opportunity to walk through Fan Tan Alley, which is undoubtedly the most famous part of Victoria’s Chinatown, if not the city itself.
The main entrance to Victoria’s Chinatown is located at the corner of Government and Fisgard Streets.