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History of China Town

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China Town was part of the City of Winnipeg when it amalgamated with surrounding municipalities to create the City of Winnipeg which came into legal existence on January 1, 1972.

This area has seen a number of different development stages. Prior to the early 1880s, it was one of the City of Winnipeg's early residential districts, small homes and shacks were built by pioneers and recent arrivals.

The construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1881-1882 fuelled a real estate and construction boom that ultimately replaced some of these houses with large factories and warehouses. Once the 20th century began, Winnipeg's major growth period ensured that the area filled with offices, warehouses, hotels and retail stores.

By 1915, this neighbourhood was developing much differently than the surrounding streets; it was evolving into Winnipeg's China Town. It was in the 1890s that the first main group of Chinese settled in Winnipeg, many operating wash houses throughout the city. The first Chinese store, Quong Chong Tai, opened in 1905 on King Street, followed by many others in the area. By 1920, there were 900 Chinese in the city operating 150 laundries, three restaurants, eight grocery stores and three greenhouses. The Chinese population in the city shrank in the 1930s by as much as a quarter and the remaining population and their shops and services settled almost exclusively in China Town. The population continued to dwindle into the 1960s when numbers again began to rise. This new community, however, was spread throughout the city, no longer confined to the downtown.

Chinatown has since seen a redevelopment through the Core Area Initiatives and other government-sponsored programs.