Presented by Nick's Jewellery and Reebok
Neighbourhoods go by many different names. Some neighbourhoods have hard, defined boundaries, and some seep and flow into one another. Parts of our neighbourhood are called Little Portugal, Brockton Village, Ward 9, Trinity Bellwoods. All of these names come from distinct and local histories.
Over time, waves of immigration have shaped our neighbourhood, just as the stories we tell about our neighbourhood come to influence how we interact and know it. The Vietnamese community has left behind a rich legacy and its community members continue to shape and add immense value to our neighbourhood today.
With the fall of Saigon in 1975 and the end of the Vietnam War, many Vietnamese peoples and communities immigrated to Canada. More than a million refugees fled Vietnam after the War. Many escaped in overcrowded ships and were called “boat people”. By 1985, 110,000 Vietnamese refugees had settled in Canada, and more followed into the late 1980s and early 1990s. The Vietnamese community has contributed to Canada through the arts, business, sports and many other industries. Before gentrification, many Vietnamese families and community members lived in our neighbourhood, and many remain today having built homes, businesses and lives here that enrich our larger community.
Local Vietnamese businesses and organizations like Canada’s Vietnamese newspaper Thời Báo, Vietnamese entertainment company Thúy Nga, and restaurants like Phở Linh and Phở Phoenix are staples in the Vietnamese community but also in our neighbourhood. These businesses and the people who own and operate them contribute to the fabric of our community everyday.
There is power in knowing the history of your neighbourhood and recognizing the diverse groups of people that contribute to its brilliance. Over the years the Vietnamese community and many other immigrant groups have built the neighbourhood we know and love today. One of the most incredible parts of our neighbourhood’s story is that these communities, whether they be Portuguese, Vietnamese or another, don’t exist alone, they interact, influence one another and build something even more vibrant and beautiful.
This lookbook has many aims. It aims to showcase local Asian talent. It aims to highlight the value of the Vietnamese community in our neighbourhood, both past and present. It aims to celebrate the Vietnamese community and other Asian communities who have experienced heightened violence and discrimination in the wake of COVID-19. It aims to empower local businesses who have been devastated by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Above all else, it aims to tell the stories of our neighbourhood and all the communities and people that make it what it is.