Chinatown Is Disappearing

Shanghai Restaurant, King Street (original building built 1883).When an institution like Shanghai Restaurant closes down, it’s a sad day. On its last day of service, I witnessed a steady flow of people streaming in to Shanghai for one last MSG laced wave of nostalgia. There is no doubt about it—people are going to miss this place. The fact that almost all of that night’s dinner guests stopped to take a photo as they went in is a pretty good indication that this is so.

But people—and restaurants—move on. It’s understandable, and I wish the owners well.

It’s another story, though, when a nearly 130-year-old building is cleared for demolition in the adjoining neighbourhood of The Exchange District, Winnipeg’s nationally designated historic district.

For all intents and purposes, Chinatown is a part The Exchange District, and I would expect that it would be treated with the respect and preservation that it deserves. But hey, what can I really expect? Even The Exchange has fallen victim to needless demolition in recent times (Grain Exchange Annex and The Smart Bag Building) thanks to the toothless (and quite frankly, useless) Historical Buildings Committee. With this being the case, there’s not much hope for Chinatown at all.


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