Place

What gives a place meaning? What makes a place “home”? Whether in rural villages in China or in Canada, a big city “Chinatown” or a small town cafe, a place acquires meaning from the lives of the people who live there. Chinese Canadians lived in every province of Canada, in every large city and in a remarkable number of small towns across the Prairies and all the way to the Maritimes. It is a myth that Chinese Canadians just lived in Chinatowns. They lived and worked throughout Canadian cities and all across Canada. A map of the destinations of Chinese Canadians entering Canada in the early 20th century shows them headed for almost every small town in the country, a dispersal that denies the idea that they were hidden away in exotic ghettoes. Chinese Canadian restaurants served every kind of customer, and small town cafes served as unofficial community centers and open to everyone regardless of race or ethnicity. Even as Chinese Canadians continually migrated to new places to work and live, they made homes and neighbours in Canada.