Quebec’s government finally granted heritage status to the core of Montreal’s Chinatown …
Part 1: SAVING CHINATOWN – The Rise Of The Dragons
What started off as a documentary project in 2017 to explore the forgotten historical contributions to Canada made by the first Chinese immigrants and to raise awareness about the gentrification of Montreal’s Chinatown quickly expanded its mission and shifted its focus when the COVID-19 pandemic caused a rise in anti-Asian hate. This short documentary explores the growing threat of gentrification and the rise in anti-Asian racism that Montreal’s Chinatown and Asian community has been facing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a result of racial connotations associated with the COVID-19 virus, the residents and businesses in Montreal’s Chinatown have been experiencing a rise in anti-Asian racism, vandalism and robberies. This documentary explores how the government’s lack of action and support towards Chinatown reveals an underlying issue of gentrification and racism. With developers looking to buy off historical buildings in Chinatown and convert them into commercial and real estate projects, the Chinese community of Montreal has been struggling to convince the government to designate Chinatown as a heritage site so that its historical and cultural value can remain.
With the city lockdown and restrictions, the businesses in Chinatown have been suffering due to lack of traffic and tourism; many of the businesses have been forced to close permanently and the remaining ones are struggling to survive.
The lack of police presence and security in Chinatown has left its businesses and residents vulnerable to increased racial attacks, vandalism and burglaries during the pandemic. Documentary producer and community leader Jimmy Chan has taken matters into his own hands and has started a Security Patrol group to ensure the safety of Chinatown’s residents, businesses and patrons.
This documentary is also based on the 30 years of experiences that film producer Jimmy Chan has went through growing up in Montreal’s Chinatown.
Although the documentary takes place in Montreal, it highlights issues that all Chinese communities across North America and America are facing. This documentary not only aims to raise awareness, but also aims to educate the viewer about the historical contributions made by the Chinese that helped build the country of Canada. Additionally, this documentary aims to fight anti-Asian racism by educating and empowering viewers and by promoting diversity and solidarity.
As a result of the huge impact that our documentary had made, the municipal and provincial officials announced on January 24, 2022 that Montreal’s Chinatown will be granted heritage status by the province to protect it from excessive development and gentrification. The heritage designation was particularly hopeful that it would lead to improved community affordable access to housing, health and social services, security, health and safety, cultural development and green space.