Grade 8 monitors, Lord Strathcona Elementary School, 1948. The new Cross Cultural Strathcona Walking Tours start at the school and then take visitors through Hogan’s Alley, Jewish Strathcona, Japantown (Powell Street) and Chinatown. (photo from Bev Nann)
The Cross Cultural Strathcona Walking Tour celebrates the history of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside neighbourhoods Hogan’s Alley, Jewish Strathcona, Japantown (Powell Street) and Chinatown. The guided walking tour builds awareness of the contributions of early immigrant communities then and now, in celebration of Vancouver Asian Heritage Month and Canada’s Jewish Heritage Month, both of which fall during the month of May.
The walking tour theme is education, and each tour starts at the oldest elementary school in Vancouver, Lord Strathcona Elementary School, at 592 East Pender St. Referred to as the “League of Nations” for its multicultural make-up, this school brought and continues to bring many communities together.
Tours will feature community experts and wind their way through the streets of Vancouver’s Eastside pioneer neighbourhoods, concluding at the Vancouver Japanese Language School (475 Alexander St.), where participants can enjoy complimentary “after-school” snacks from the featured communities.
“Last summer, I had the privilege of going on a number of walking tours, where it dawned on me that we were walking the same streets and even talking about the same homes, just through different community lens,” said Carmel Tanaka, co-founder of the Cross Cultural Strathcona Walking Tour. “A lightbulb moment was to bring all these experts into one room and create one inclusive walking tour highlighting all our voices together!”
The tours will take place on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh peoples, with the support of the Grant family, who offer greetings from the Musqueam Nation. The Cross Cultural Strathcona Walking Tour project is a coordinated effort by the following participating organizations: Association of United Ukrainian Canadians; Benny Foods Italian Market; Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden; Musqueam elder Larry Grant; Greater Vancouver Japanese Canadian Citizens Association; Heritage Vancouver Society; Hogan’s Alley Society; Jewish Independent; Jewish Museum and Archives of British Columbia; Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre; Pacific Canada Heritage Centre Museum of Migration; Vancouver Asian Heritage Month Society’s explorASIAN; Vancouver Heritage Foundation; Vancouver Japanese Language School and Japanese Hall; Vancouver School Board; Vancouver School Board Archives and Heritage Committee; Wongs’ Benevolent Association; and Youth Collaborative for Chinatown.
Tours will run Sunday, May 5, 12, 19 and 26, 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., rain or shine. Each tour will last just over two hours and cost $15/person (free for children and moms on Mother’s Day). For tickets, visit strathconawalkingtour.eventbrite.com.