Tomorrow’s Chinatown a step closer to guiding growth and cultural vibrancy in Calgary

The Tomorrow’s Chinatown program reached a significant milestone today as Council approved the Chinatown Cultural Plan, giving first reading to the Chinatown Area Redevelopment Plan. Together, these two plans play an important role to ensure Chinatown remains a vibrant, culturally rich place to live, visit, work and do business, for generations to come.

“The story of Calgary’s Chinese community is one that reflects strength and perseverance through challenging times of discrimination and hardship,” said Mayor Jyoti Gondek. “Over the years, Chinatown has contributed so much toward making downtown Calgary a thriving destination, and these plans reflect what we can accomplish together in creating tomorrow’s Chinatown.”

Both the Cultural Plan and Area Redevelopment Plan were developed together through insight from citizens and the Chinese community, both within Chinatown and throughout the city. Notably, the citizen advisory group consisting of 25 passionate and committed Chinatown community members, supporters and leaders was a mainstay of the entire two-year schedule.

“The Chinatown community and The City have accomplished two great plans – a Cultural Plan and an Area Redevelopment Plan that will shape the future of Chinatown,” says Liza Chan, Executive Director of the Calgary Chinese Elderly Citizens’ Association and a Tomorrow’s Chinatown advisory group member. “The advisory group process and inclusive engagement activities made available in the Chinese language have enhanced understanding and built trust between the Chinese community and The City of Calgary. We can see that our municipal government is listening and willing to work with the community to create a vibrant Chinatown.”

The result is strategic, community-informed guidance and direction for Chinatown’s future growth, which will preserve and celebrate this culturally rich community. It’s a unique approach that showcases the community’s values and opportunities, so one of Calgary’s first communities can continue to grow as a diverse and welcoming place.

“The Chinatown Business Improvement Area  and the Chinatown community find our voices heard and are pleased to work with The City in the making of Tomorrow’s Chinatown plans,” says Grace Su, Chairperson for the Chinatown Business Improvement Area and a Tomorrow’s Chinatown advisory group member. “It’s significant to recognize and build on the historical and cultural heritage assets in the visioning and the development framework for Chinatown in the next 30 years. We look forward to the next steps and the implementation of the two plans.”

Chinatown Cultural Plan

The Chinatown Cultural Plan identifies ways to recognize Chinatown’s history and honour its people and culture, while creating a welcoming community for visitors and newcomers. It is the first neighbourhood-specific cultural plan in Calgary and builds on the Cultural Plan for Calgary.

“Culture plays an important role in shaping more livable cities and communities,” says Jennifer Thompson, Manager of Arts & Culture at The City of Calgary. “It strengthens Calgary’s economy and enhances quality of life for residents. We’re excited to support the Chinatown community and its leading role in advancing the Plan’s strategies and actions, which will enrich Chinatown’s culture for the benefit of all Calgarians.” 

Chinatown Area Redevelopment Plan

The Area Redevelopment Plan is shaped by the Cultural Plan and provides consistency and certainty for the community, developers and decision-makers. It outlines where growth should go, and the need for redevelopment to recognize and celebrate the elements that make Chinatown unique. The plan will now go to the Calgary Metropolitan Region Board for approval, before coming back to Council in early 2023 for second and third reading.

“When planning culturally, it’s necessary to consider how people, place and culture connect,” explains Fazeel Elahi, Local Area Planning Coordinator at The City of Calgary and Tomorrow’s Chinatown Project Manager. “The relationship between these three pillars can’t be understood on their own and is reflected in the updated Chinatown Area Redevelopment Plan. I can’t wait to see the exciting developments that come through, which now will directly support Chinatown’s longevity.”

Learn more about the Chinatown Cultural Plan and Chinatown Area Redevelopment Plan at