The Forbidden Vancouver Tour delves into one of the darkest moments in Vancouver’s history.
The old photo shows some of the damage done by the Asiatic Exclusion League riot that rampaged through Chinatown and Japantown in September 1907. The riot was to protest Chinese workers being brought to BC to work for low wages. Deputy Minister of Labour and future Prime Minister Mackenzie King came to Vancouver hear claims for compensation from riot victims on behalf of the federal government. Fongoun’s was the city’s top Chinese tailor. Most of his clientele was white, leading King to quip that the the Asiatic Exclusion League “would do well to turn their energies into the tailoring business.” Fongoun asked for $350 in damages, which included $144 for the window and wages for his staff during the two weeks his shop was closed. The building was erected in 1893 and is the oldest and only wood building remaining on this stretch of East Hastings. Today it is owned by the New Brandiz Hotel, located a few doors to the east.
Find out more about this devastating riot, join us on The Forbidden Vancouver Tour.
1907 photo: University of British Columbia, Rare Books and Special Collections #CC-PH-00230