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Asian Presence in Vancouver

Updated: Feb 3

According to the 2016 Canadian Census, the Chinese community is the largest Asian ethnic group in Vancouver, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. Vancouver is home to a huge range of Asian nationalities, from Chinese to South Asians, Filipinos, Japanese, Koreans, Vietnamese, Iranians, and so much more! As part of a city that is constantly growing and changing, let me tell you a bit more about what you can expect to see and experience from Asian cultures in Vancouver.

Arts and Culture

The city is home to several Asian cultural institutions, including the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, which has become a popular tourist attraction. There is also the Chinese Cultural Centre, the Vancouver Japanese Language School and Japanese Hall. These organizations provide a platform for Asian arts, culture, and heritage to be celebrated and shared with everyone.

Business and Trade

As Canada's Pacific province, British Columbia has a strong economic relationship with Asia. Vancouver acts as a gateway between North America and Asia by air and water. Therefore, it is common to see many companies that have set up shop in the city. This brings large numbers of Asian workers to the province and our business centres.


Asian cuisine has had a significant influence on Vancouver's culinary scene, having numerous Asian restaurants and food trucks offering everything from traditional Chinese, Japanese, and Korean to Lebanese and Indian food. This has created fusion cuisine restaurants that blend Asian and Western flavours, such as Torafuku and District Eleven. Of the 48 countries that are part of Asia, we've counted at least 29 that are present in Vancouver. Are you from Asia? Can you find your food in Vancouver? We are curious to find out!

Fashion and Beauty

In Vancouver, Asian beauty and fashion trends have become increasingly popular, with many people adopting beauty routines from countries like Japan, Korea, and China. People have also started incorporating Asian-inspired clothing and accessories into their wardrobes, which reflects the growing influence of Asian cultures on Vancouver's fashion scene. Therefore, you will find big clothing brands like Uniqlo and Muji, and everyday item stores like Daiso and Miniso.

Festivals and Celebrations

Throughout the year, Vancouver holds several festivals and celebrations that highlight Asian cultures. These events include the Chinese New Year, the Indian Holi Festival, the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival, and the Powell Street Festival, which takes place in the Japanese-Canadian neighbourhood of Paueru Gai. Many people in Vancouver participate in these events and embrace the customs and traditions associated with them.

Language and Education

It's common to find Vancouverites who have learned Asian languages such as Mandarin, Cantonese, and Japanese. Many learn these languages to connect with friends and family or advance their careers. Additionally, there are a number of schools and programs that offer education in Asian languages and cultural studies, including Chinese, Japanese, Persian, and many more.


Because of this Asian presence, it is normal to see travel agencies all over the city with information about visiting China, India, Vietnam, and other Asian countries. Most of these places are targeted at these communities, so don't expect to see English written on the ads. However, you can always walk in and ask about their packages!

These are just a few examples of how Asian culture has influenced the people of Vancouver and how Vancouverites have embraced and integrated this presence into their daily lives. Did you know taking off your shoes when entering a home is a common practice in Vancouver? It came from Asia too!

It's worth noting that while the term "Asian" is often used to refer to a broad range of people with ethnic or cultural ties to the continent of Asia, these groups are diverse and distinct, with their unique history, traditions, and languages. Each group contributes to Vancouver's rich cultural fabric and has unique experiences and perspectives on life in the city.

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