May is Asian heritage month, a time to highlight the contributions Canadians of Asian heritage have made to our communities.
Each year, events of all sorts are held, sharing the stories, experiences, and ideas that come from the continent west of Vancouver, across the Pacific. This year sees a mix of virtual and in-person options.
The LiterASIAN festival explores Asian voices in Canadian writing with a variety of events from May 7 to 15. Of particular note are the opening day events on May 7, which include a pair of group discussions. In one Asian Canadian writers will discuss where storytelling stands for them in 2022; in the second the focus will turn to POC navigating a predominantly white cultural industry.
When: May 7 to May 15
Where: Chinatown Storytelling Centre / Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden
Cost: Events individually ticketed (typically $5 to $10)
Stanley Park Brewing and the Vancouver Chinatown Foundation have partnered on this one.
“Stanley Park Brewing is launching their Kinship Wheat Ale, a beer celebrating the coexistence of cultures and embracing the diversity that makes Canada unique,” says the foundation in an email. “All proceeds from Stanley Park Brewing’s Kinship Wheat Ale will go towards the Vancouver Chinatown Foundation.”
While the launch is May 10, the beer appears to be available already in the Stanley Park Brewing online store.
When: May 10
Where: Stanley Park Brewpub and online
Cost: $5 per can
While the Cross Cultural Walking Tours around Chinatown have sold out already for May, a virtual tour on Zoom will be held so anyone can explore the famous Vancouver neighbourhood with a guide. The Chinese Canadian Historical Society of BC has tapped past presidents John Atkin, Bob Sung and Hayne Wai to lead the event, based on the Chinatown map and guide.
When: May 11 at 7 p.m.
Where: Your choice.
Cost: By donation.
Ok, so this isn’t technically in Vancouver, but it’s in Burnaby, and that’s pretty close. The Nikkei Auxillary group will be holding its annual market and plant sale at the Nikkei Cultural Centre. You’ll find Japanese food, new and used goods from the island nation and spring plants. Funds raised from the sale go to support the centre’s events and programs.
When: May 14 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Where: 6688 Southoaks Cres, Burnaby
Cost: Free to visit.
It’s the first year for this market with 50 booths showcasing artisans, associations and products from Hong Kong. There’ll also be cultural activities throughout the market. While it’s free to go, tickets are suggested.
When: May 14 from noon to 6 p.m.
Where: 515 West Hastings St. (SFU Harbour Centre)
This one is also in Burnaby, but just barely. The festival celebrating Tian-Jin will run two days at the Tian-Jin Temple with food (including sweet red bean pockets) and music. There’ll be performances from groups like the Tian Jin Line Dance Group and the Shaolin Martial Arts Academy.
When: May 14-15
Where: Tian-Jin Temple – 3426 Smith Ave, Burnaby
Japanese flower arranging is a delicate art form, with centuries of heritage behind it. Those interested in learning more can visit the Vancouver Ikebana Association show at the Roundhouse Community Arts Centre for two days of demonstrations and workshops.
When: May 14 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., May 15 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Where: 181 Roundhouse Mews, Vancouver
Cost: Free to visit. Workshops are $25.
Sabi Tea Arts will be teaching classes of eight the art of Kōdō, the Japanese incense ceremony. Participants will be taught about scents and traditional practices by instructors certified by Senzan Goryū School of Kōdō.
When: May 21 and 22, 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 a.m. each day.
Where: 3674 West 16 Ave
A quartet of comedians will take the stage at the Hollywood Theatre for a night of laughs with a nod to Asian Heritage Month. Julie Kim, who’s popped up in Kim’s Convenience and as Ronny Chieng’s opener, will host with San Francisco standout Irene Tu headlining. Yumi Nagashima, a regular on CBC’s Debaters, and Juno nominee Andrea Jin will feature as well.
When: May 20 at 8 p.m. (doors at 5 p.m.)
Where: Hollywood Theatre (3123 West Broadway)
Elimn8Hate, the group working towards racial equity for all Asian Canadians, is holding a concert to highlight those voices.
“Come to listen to songs written and performed LIVE by Asian Canadian artists about anti-Asian racism and resilience,” say organizers.
When: May 26, doors at 6:30 p.m
Where: D/6 Bar & Lounge at the Parq Hotel – 39 Smithe St, Vancouver
Cost: Tickets are $18 until May 15, then $25. At the door they’ll be $28.
Cross Cultural Walking Tours and Knowledge Network are partnering up for a day of learning as the “British Columbia: An Untold Story” will be screened in its entirety. The four-part documentary series explored the lives of people of colour shaping B.C., including Chinese, Japanese and Punjabi stories. During the halfway mark there’ll be a free lunch, too!
When: May 29
Where: Hon Hsing Athletic Club of Vancouver – 29 East Pender St
If you’re interested in other Asian Heritage Month activities, check the exploreASIAN 2022 program with more than 60 events.