A Trip Into Victoria’s Past

chinatown

Our field trip was exciting and mysterious. Our Grade 7 Mandarin class explored Victoria’s Chinatown, the oldest in Canada, in which the important Wei Tang Temple is located.

We learned many different and interesting things on our trip, such as the history behind Chinatown itself, which was founded in 1858, and how Fan Tan Alley got its name. Back in the 1850s the gold rush in the Fraser River brought many people from all over to pan for gold and that is when many people immigrated to British Columbia from China.

When they came here, they set up shops and businesses and then formed Chinatown, despite facing racism. At first, Chinese children were not allowed to go to school in the day so they had to go in the evening. When the Chinese school opened in 1899, all the Chinese children were able to have a normal school education during the daytime.

Fan Tan Alley was home to a gambling game a long time ago. The game is very simple and fun to play. You have some object to cover up the tiny pebbles inside and then below all this is a cloth. You take four small pebbles into each side of the cloth and then have to guess how many are left in. If you guess correctly, you win the round and some money.

The police used to go on raids there to catch all the people gambling, so there are many little secret passages where people could escape.

Overall, it was a very interesting trip! One of the highlights was the amazing lunch we had at an authentic Chinese restaurant. We ate delicious dishes like shrimp, rice, vegetables and a variety of noodles.

We all sat in large round tables and had a great time talking with our friends and our teachers. The trip should definitely be made again for people of other grades so they can experience such fun and excitement.

Our Junior School students also recently learned about Victoria’s history and the Lunar New Year. Read about their field trip to Chinatown.

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