Montreal’s Chinatown, also referred to as Quartier Chinois, isn’t a huge area but does feature a good selection of restaurants, shops and things to do.
Chinatown in Montreal
Most cities across Canada have their own “Chinatown” and Montreal is no exception. It’s not a huge area but it is a nice place to stroll and explore some traditional Chinese restaurants and stores.
In French the area is referred to as Le quartier chinois de Montréal. One unique feature of Montreal’s Chinatown is the pedestrian-only walkway that runs through the area. Rue de la Gauchetière is a car-free street running from the north to the south end of Chinatown.
History of Chinatown
Montreal’s Chinatown has its roots back in the mid to late 1800s. Chinese immigrants came to Montreal and all settled in the same area around de la Gauchetiere and St. Laurent Blvd. Chinatown in Montreal is one of the oldest Asian communities on the continent.
Originally Chinatown was a primarily residential neighbourhood. Since then, it has expanded to include many commercial shops and restaurants.
When Montreal hosted Expo 67, the neighbourhood started to be recognized as a tourist attraction. The pedestrian-only street was installed in the 1980s. Other important buildings in the area include a Chinese Catholic Community Centre and a Chinese-only hospital.
Sun Yat-Sen Park
Similar to Chinatown in Vancouver, Montreal’s Chinatown has an area named after the famous Dr. Sun Yat-Sen. The plaza can be found in the centre of Montreal’s Chinatown.
The plaza was created by eight architects from Shanghai. It features traditional Chinese architecture and a large carving at the north end. There is also a small stage for performances and a bust of Sun Yat-Sen in the park.
Cultural events take place at the park throughout the year. Chinese New Year celebrations usually run at the Sun Yat-Sen Park. There are also smaller events including local performances and markets.
There are four gates to Montreal’s Chinatown. All four are very large and ornate and are traditionally referred to as paifang gates. Montreal’s Chinatown actually has the most paifang gates of any Chinatown in Canada.
The gates can be found at all four corners of Chinatown. Chinatown’s east gate is at the intersection of Saint-Dominique Street and Rue de la Gauchetière and the west gate is at the other end of the road, at Jeanne-Mance Street and Rue de la Gauchetière. The north gate is at the corner of Saint-Laurent Boulevard and Boulevard René-Lévesque. Finally, the south gate can be found at Saint-Laurent Boulevard and Viger Avenue West.
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