A great postcard of the Chinatown in Toronto from my dear Canadian penpal Lauren. I really like seeing pictures of Chinatowns around the world so this was a lovely surprise. (Btw, there's a small Chinatown in Birmingham, too, but I've never seen any postcards of it anywhere. :()
Chinatown is an ethnic enclave in Downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada, with a high concentration of ethnic Chinese residents and businesses extending along Dundas Street West and Spadina Avenue. First developed in the late 19th century, it is now one of the largest Chinatowns in North America and one of several major Chinese-Canadian communities in the Greater Toronto Area.
Toronto's Chinatown first appeared during the 1870s with the migration of American Chinese from California due to racial conflict and from the Eastern United States due to the depression at the time. The earliest record of Toronto's Chinese community is traced to Sam Ching, who owned a hand laundry business on Adelaide Street in 1878. Ching was the first Chinese person listed in the city's directory.
Toronto's downtown Chinatown has two phases in its history since inception:
First Chinatown (1870s-1961): The original Chinatown was centered near present-day Elizabeth and Hagerman street (43.6539938°N 79.3846643°W). In the 1950s, properties in the First Chinatown were bought-out or expropriated in a controversial manner by the city for the construction of Nathan Phillips Square.
Old Chinatown (1950s-Present): The present downtown Chinatown is centered at Spadina Avenue and Dundas street (43.6529458°N 79.3980432°W). Although a small Chinese community was already present in this location prior to the 1950s, the "old" Chinatown was formed mainly when businesses with the financial ability moved from the First Chinatown to the Spadina location.