Not all is as it once was in Chinatown, Vancouver. To be sure, the megamarkets on prime corners along E. Pender Street in East Vancouver will continue to do well. They will attract locals with their selection and quantity. Tourists who know their stuff will surely wander into the open market storefront. Who knows? They may sell more online than "over the counter these days". But I've always wondered about some Chinese markets such as the one below. Is this a food store? Herbal medicine apothecary supply? Craft supply store? Health and beauty store? All of the above?
Does one cook with these nearly transparent dried fish? Grind them up for medicines? Boil them for the cat? Fertilize the garden with them?
The old institutions and clubs are barely hanging on. Younger Chinese-Canadians have grown up almost entirely westernized. They don't want to live or raise their families on the old narrow apartment buildings with cramped space, poor plumbing and heat, inadequate electrical systems and right above the crowded streets. Those who can afoord to move out to communities like Richmond or North Vancouver and have a more suburban life. Their kids feel much more at home there.
How does that change life for the smaller stores and businesses? If they go under, what happens to the space? Who moves in? What goes on outside?
How do these factors and other changes in the economy affect life for the people already there? For the people who have nowhere else to go?
Where does the Gospel and ministry fit into all of this? Stay tuned.