May 5, 2016

2524 CANADA (Ontario) - Toronto's Chinatown

Toronto's Chinatown is an ethnic enclave in Downtown Toronto, with a high concentration of ethnic Chinese residents and businesses extending along Dundas Street West and Spadina Avenue, west of the centre of the city. A second area known as East Chinatown, extends along both streets from the intersection of Broadview Avenue and Gerrard Street. First developed in the late 19th century, the main Chinatown is now one of the largest Chinatowns in North America.

Toronto's Chinatown first appeared during the 1890s with the migration of American Chinese from California due to racial conflict and from the Eastern United States due to the economic depression at the time. The earliest record of Toronto's Chinese community is traced to Sam Ching, who owned a hand laundry business on Adelaide Street in 1878. Ching was the first Chinese person listed in the city's directory and is now honoured with a lane named after him.

By the 1930s, Chinatown was a firmly established and well-defined community that extended along  Bay Street between Dundas Street and Queen Street West. Like the rest of the country, Chinatown suffered a severe downturn in the Great Depression, with the closing of more than 116 hand laundries and hundreds of other businesses. With the influx of Chinese immigration during the 1960s due to the lifting of Canada's racial exclusion policies, along with much of the Jewish population moving north along Bathurst Street, Chinese businesses expanded in this area.

The present day old Chinatown along Spadina was formerly a Jewish district. Following the demolition of first Chinatown to make way for Toronto City Hall, the Chinese community migrated westward to the neighbourhood around Spadina Avenue and Dundas Street West. Historically, Toronto's Chinatown has been represented by immigrants and families from southern China and Hong Kong. Since the transfer of Hong Kong's sovereignty to the People's Republic of China in 1997, immigrants from mainland China have greatly exceeded those from Hong Kong.

About the stamp
The stamp is part of a series of five definitive stamps, Baby Wildlife, about which I wrote here.

Chinatown, Toronto - Wikipedia

Sender: Florin Ursu
Sent from Toronto (Ontario / Canada), on 29.04.2016
Photo: Peter Mintz

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