Vancouver’s Dark anti-Asian History

With the recent attacks on Asian people not only in Canada, but also in the United states, I wanted to give some insight on their history in Vancouver. It is crazy to me that during all these hates crimes happening, one of the first things anyone mentions is, if you in some way benefit or enjoy parts of Asian culture you should support the movement. It is kind of unnerving to me that people would not support movements against hate crimes, regardless of whether they have a connection to it somehow. To me, this shows how careless people can be to a cause, if they aren’t directly connected or affected by it in some way. Of course, there is nothing wrong with the people making these posts, it’s the fact that you almost have to guilt someone into giving it the time of day, in which I think, they should be doing it already.


There are many great things Vancouver has benefitted, from Asian – Canadians, and more appreciation should be given to the culture and people.

People should not forget that in the past there were many riots that happened towards, Chinese and Japanese people, in Vancouver. The anti-Asian riots happened over two days back in, September 7 – 9, 1907. At the time, similar anti-Asian riots were happening in San Francisco, Bellingham and other cities along the West Coast in the United States. These riots were a part of what is referred to as, The Pacific Coast Race Riots of 1907. These were caused by white supremacists, who were opposed to the immigration laws in which resulted in many Asian immigrants coming to Vancouver.

Doesn’t history just love to repeat itself.

In the late 19 and early 20th centuries, many Asian immigrants were moving to America and Canada, because of the number of citizens, many of those on the pacific coast grew economic fears and racist attitudes. Because it was seen that immigrants were “cheap labour”, many jobs were accused of firing white people because they would pay immigrants less (just accusations no actual evidence behind this). By the 1880s more than 100,00 Chinese citizens were employed, shortly after many Japanese immigrants arrived, eventually making it the number of those employed the same.

Because white people felt as though “their jobs were being taken”, this caused the riots that broke out on September 7th, because of their growing hate and racism towards Asian immigrants. The white supremist who referred to themselves as the, Asiatic Exclusion League, because their riots with a band in order to draw attention in. They called it a parade, the parade would go to Vancouver city hall at Hastings and Man, then Chinatown, where a rally would be held to address the “issues” (these were not issues yall just racist) on Asian immigration.

About 10,000 racist Canadians and Americans attended the march that resulted in a mob in the Chinese, and Japanese neighborhoods. The riot started with speakers discussing the riots in Bellingham, and some kid threw a rock through a glass window and boom it all went to shit. The caused chaos, and the crowd turned into a rioting mob. They threw bottles and rocks at all windows, destroying Chinese owned stores and homes. After this, they moved on over to Japantown attempting to do the same, but Japanese residents did not hold back and pushed the mob away. The Vancouver riot that started on the seventh, did not end until the next day at 3am in the morning.

For those who may not be aware Japantown, is the old neighborhood by Powell street that connects to Chinatown. It was a very distinct area home to many restaurants and the Asahi baseball league. During the time of WWll many Japanese Canadians were forced into concentration camps and had their properties confiscated. Along Powell there are only two buildings left from that time, being, The Japanese Methodist church and The Vancouver Japanese Language School and Japanese Hall.

Chinatown riot VPL 940 (10463603965).jpg

The aftermath resulted in bans on immigration for Japanese people and was titled, the gentlemen’s agreement. Labour Minister, MacKenzie King was to write a royal commission into the evented, he also recompensed the damage with $36,000 to the injured communities.

Because of the riots, it was quickly followed with a strike of Vancouver’s Asian workers, this included the cities timber industry, hotels and private homes, who suffered from withdrawals of the workers as well.

Canada’s got quite the history, and that goes for any country.

Even though there are not any white supremist marching down the streets in Vancouver right now, its bizarre seeing history repeat itself in just, different ways. The same narrative about immigrants stealing the white man’s jobs is still being said.

Even after a hundred years of these racist riots, the tension still remained in Vancouver and in North America.

You compare the two, it is the same racism just in different years. I got to say, the past few years since you know who got in power, it drives insane at the thought that this man gave crack to an addict. You already had these racist under their white veils in the shadows and this man just encouraged them to come out, they just needed a little push in their racism.

The pandemic only made it worse, with the racist references on calling Covid “The Chinese Virus” which, is just so unreal to even hear people actually refer to it as that. The mistreatment that Asian people have been going through before and now because of covid-19, it should not even be happening.

It is always so ironic to me how racists are on such a high horse (I mean it IS the white privilege) when those Europeans settled in lands, they were so disgusting because they didn’t even shower or bathe themselves, so the people on the land literally had to show them.

Anti-Asian hate has been happening forever, just like any racism we have to this day. So, again, you should be getting educated and seeing how you could support anyone who is struggling. If you see anything you should always, say something.

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