The autumn of 1982 it was a critical time for Calgary's Chinatown. People belonging to the city proposed land redesignation for Calgary's Chinatown. Chinatown was going to have tall sky scrapers just as the downtown core. It was said that Chinatown would disintegrate and disappear in the process. The People of china who immigrated from china and the city council saw Chinatown as a distinct and unique community worthy of preservation. However without a revitalization plan Chinatown would have deteriorated along with many other of the Chinatowns across North America. Through weekly meetings and a nearly a year and a half of hard work Chinatown was unanimously accepted, approved and adopted by all members involved in the process. Landowners responded very positively and started building new premises to meet the needs of the new revitalized Chinatown. A critical event occurred near the end of the ARP (Area Redevelopment Plan). A proposal was put forward to reduce Chinatown’s boundary by 40% of the land, Chinatown was already small and didn't need further tinkering.
Removing such a big part of the Chinatown would to irreparable damage and may threaten its outright survival. Counter proposals were made, adverse effects of the proposals. Again a new plan unanimously agreed and accepted by all parties involved. Especially praiseworthy was the Calgary planning department, which had the interest and welfare of the Chinese community at heart the whole time. It was their dedication and professionalism that enabled them to find a set of solutions so that everybody was happy. When a group of community minded individuals committed themselves to the project eight years ago all with the same vision for the Cultural Centre, helping fulfill the aspirations of their community. Given the opportunity and good leadership a community could channel its energy and resources to accomplish many useful and meaningful things. The completion of the Chinese cultural centre was not the end of our work, but the beginning of a continuing journey.
At the Cultural Centre’s dedication in 1992, local businessman Dr. Henry Fok gave a speech where he said:
The Chinese have an expression: “Like the sea being a gathering place of hundreds of rivers regardless of their sources, broadmindedness commands immense tolerance to different ideas and thoughts regardless of their origin.” The primary reason for an outstanding culture to be able to endure thousands of years without losing its vitality is due to its ability to incorporate different ideas and philosophies from other cultures into its own.
He might have been talking about the Chinese. But I think he was describing Canada.