‘What about us?’ Merchants in Vancouver’s Chinatown say Ottawa is helping others during the pandemic, but letting them be crushed

VANCOUVER — Merchants in Vancouver’s historic Chinatown say the COVID-19 pandemic is wiping them out and the federal government is doing nothing to help save the treasured community.At the same time, advocates ask why another tourist hot spot in the city, federally owned Granville Island, has seen millions worth of funding to help keep merchants there afloat.“This is a great example of a community that’s racialized that’s not able to access the same funding that a non-racialized community can,” said Michael Tan, co-chair of the Vancouver’s Chinatown Legacy Stewardship Group.Vancouver’s Chinatown is the third largest in North America after those in New York and San Francisco. Prior to the pandemic, the neighbourhood’s shops and restaurants were destinations for both locals and tourists. One draw is the famed Sam Kee building, long dubbed the narrowest building in the world and built as the result of a wager between two local businessmen more than 100 years ago.But despite their rich heritage, these once-packed six blocks of the city have buckled under the weight of COVID-19, Tan said.“When you’re walking down the street, it starts to look like a ghost town at times,” he said. “There could be 100 businesses that are shuttered in the neighbourhood.”Graffiti tags now festoon many of the buildings and merchants recently complained to local media about conditions in the area, including a spike in vandalism.Tan said the neighbourhood needs help. He pointed to the assistance Ottawa has given to Granville Island, which is owned by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.Granville Island received $16.7 million in emergency funding in 2020, to be used for efforts like rent relief for merchants. This year’s federal budget included a further $22 million for the island.Tan is not the only one asking why the purse strings haven’t been similarly loosened for Chinatown. “You’re throwing money out there left, right and centre right now. What about us?” Jordan Eng, the president of the Vancouver-Chinatown Business Improvement Association said to the Star.Eng said he understands why the federal government would fund Granville Island businesses — it’s a case of the “landlord helping the tenant” — but said Chinatown also needs to be shown some consideration.It is one of the last culturally distinct sections of the city, he said, and its history makes it worth supporting as a working neighbourhood.But when Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland was asked about federal assistance during a visit to Chinatown this week, advocates for the area were not impressed by her answers.At a housing announcement on Wednesday, Freeland pointed out that her Toronto riding includes that city’s Chinatown, and said she is a “big champion” of Chinatowns across the country.She said a number of programs, such as the Canada Recovery Hiring Program and the rent subsidy, are available for merchants in Vancouver’s Chinatown.“The community hasn’t always been fully aware that these programs exist and that you just need to go out and apply for them,” Freeland said in video of the conference provided to the Star.Tan said Chinatown has different needs than other parts of the city. Many of its businesses are “mom and pop” operations without staff, he said, so the wage subsidy won’t work for them.It was also difficult for businesses to apply for rent subsidies, with landlords in some cases refusing to help their tenants apply when that was initially required, he said.Eng said Freeland didn’t address the matter sufficiently for Chinatown merchants.“I think she totally sidestepped it,” he said. “What happens in Chinatown is not the same as what happens in Kitsilano, even though it’s the same program.”He said he’d like to see some help in the way of subsidies for property taxes or programs to help the city’s legacy businesses, such as restaurants that have been in place for generations.The Department of Finance did not provide a response Friday to questions from the Star. Tan said the situation reminds him of the 1970s, when Granville Island was being developed with support from all levels of government while parts of Chinatown were being destroyed with the support of those same governments.“This is that legacy,” he said. Jeremy Nuttall is a Vancouver-based investigative reporter for the Star. Follow him on Twitter: @Nuttallreports

‘What about us?’ Merchants in Vancouver’s Chinatown say Ottawa is helping others during the pandemic, but letting them be crushed

VANCOUVER — Merchants in Vancouver’s historic Chinatown say the COVID-19 pandemic is wiping them out and the federal government is doing nothing to help save the treasured community.

At the same time, advocates ask why another tourist hot spot in the city, federally owned Granville Island, has seen millions worth of funding to help keep merchants there afloat.

“This is a great example of a community that’s racialized that’s not able to access the same funding that a non-racialized community can,” said Michael Tan, co-chair of the Vancouver’s Chinatown Legacy Stewardship Group.

Vancouver’s Chinatown is the third largest in North America after those in New York and San Francisco. Prior to the pandemic, the neighbourhood’s shops and restaurants were destinations for both locals and tourists. One draw is the famed Sam Kee building, long dubbed the narrowest building in the world and built as the result of a wager between two local businessmen more than 100 years ago.

But despite their rich heritage, these once-packed six blocks of the city have buckled under the weight of COVID-19, Tan said.

“When you’re walking down the street, it starts to look like a ghost town at times,” he said. “There could be 100 businesses that are shuttered in the neighbourhood.”

Graffiti tags now festoon many of the buildings and merchants recently complained to local media about conditions in the area, including a spike in vandalism.

Tan said the neighbourhood needs help. He pointed to the assistance Ottawa has given to Granville Island, which is owned by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

Granville Island received $16.7 million in emergency funding in 2020, to be used for efforts like rent relief for merchants. This year’s federal budget included a further $22 million for the island.

Tan is not the only one asking why the purse strings haven’t been similarly loosened for Chinatown.

“You’re throwing money out there left, right and centre right now. What about us?” Jordan Eng, the president of the Vancouver-Chinatown Business Improvement Association said to the Star.

Eng said he understands why the federal government would fund Granville Island businesses — it’s a case of the “landlord helping the tenant” — but said Chinatown also needs to be shown some consideration.

It is one of the last culturally distinct sections of the city, he said, and its history makes it worth supporting as a working neighbourhood.

But when Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland was asked about federal assistance during a visit to Chinatown this week, advocates for the area were not impressed by her answers.

At a housing announcement on Wednesday, Freeland pointed out that her Toronto riding includes that city’s Chinatown, and said she is a “big champion” of Chinatowns across the country.

She said a number of programs, such as the Canada Recovery Hiring Program and the rent subsidy, are available for merchants in Vancouver’s Chinatown.

“The community hasn’t always been fully aware that these programs exist and that you just need to go out and apply for them,” Freeland said in video of the conference provided to the Star.

Tan said Chinatown has different needs than other parts of the city. Many of its businesses are “mom and pop” operations without staff, he said, so the wage subsidy won’t work for them.

It was also difficult for businesses to apply for rent subsidies, with landlords in some cases refusing to help their tenants apply when that was initially required, he said.

Eng said Freeland didn’t address the matter sufficiently for Chinatown merchants.

“I think she totally sidestepped it,” he said. “What happens in Chinatown is not the same as what happens in Kitsilano, even though it’s the same program.”

He said he’d like to see some help in the way of subsidies for property taxes or programs to help the city’s legacy businesses, such as restaurants that have been in place for generations.

The Department of Finance did not provide a response Friday to questions from the Star.

Tan said the situation reminds him of the 1970s, when Granville Island was being developed with support from all levels of government while parts of Chinatown were being destroyed with the support of those same governments.

“This is that legacy,” he said.

Jeremy Nuttall is a Vancouver-based investigative reporter for the Star. Follow him on Twitter: @Nuttallreports

Source : Toronto Star More   

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Tokyo Olympics Day 8: Swimmers Kylie Masse, Taylor Ruck up soon in medal race; Women’s soccer team facing U.S. in semifinals; Nigerian sprinter suspended for positive HGH test

The latest Olympics news from Tokyo and around the world on Friday. Web links to longer stories if available:8:47 p.m.: In the first round of 400m hurdles, Canadian Marco Arop is competing in the Heat 2. Brandon McBride is competing in Heat 3.Also in the Olympic Athletics category: Women's 100: Crystal Emmanuel, Toronto (11.18 seconds) and Khamica Bingham, Brampton, Ont. (11.21), were 19th and 21st in qualifying round. Both will advance to the second round.Women's 5,000: Andrea Seccafien, Guelph, Ont., was the 15th-fastest in qualifying (14:59.55) and will race in the final.8:30 p.m.: Nigerian sprinter Blessing Okagbare has been provisionally suspended by the Athletics Integrity Unity after an out-of-competition test came back positive for human growth hormone.Okagbare will no longer compete at the Tokyo Olympics, where she was set to run in the women’s 100-meter semifinal. The drug test sample was analyzed in a laboratory accredited by the World Anti-Doping Agency and when the positive test was discovered, the AIU was notified.8:12 p.m.: The latest scores in the Olympic Athletics category: In the first round of 400m hurdles, Canadian Sage Watson qualifies after coming in fourth place with a time 55.54. In the second round, Canadian Noelle Montcalm came in sixth with a time of 55.85.8:12 p.m.: In the Olympic triathalon mixed team event, Canadians Joanna Brown, Alexis Lepage, Amelie Kretz and Matthew Sharpe came in 15th with a time of 1:27:21.8:08 p.m.: The U.S. women’s soccer team has defeated the Netherlands 3-2 to reach the Olympic semifinals. 8 p.m.: Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has expanded a state of emergency to areas surrounding Tokyo and extended it to the end of August, in the face of a record virus surge unfolding as his country hosts the Olympics.The expansion comes after three straight days of record COVID-19 infections in Tokyo and as national daily infection figures soared over 10,000 for the first time since the pandemic began about 18 months ago. Tokyo on Friday posted 3,300 new cases.7:15 p.m.: As the Olympic final of the men’s 10,000 metres wound down to its decisive laps Friday at Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium, Canada’s top distance runner Moh Ahmed found himself in extraordinary company. Ahmed, at more than one point, was running shoulder to shoulder with Joshua Cheptegei, the Ugandan who holds the world record in both the 10,000 and the 5,000 metres.In the end, Ethiopian Selemon Barega’s final-lap surge won him the gold medal. Cheptegei settled for silver, and fellow Ugandan Jacob Kiplimo took bronze. Ahmed faded to sixth — the same result he’d achieved the last time he ran the 10,000 at the 2019 world championships.The latest from Dave Feschuk: Canada’s Moh Ahmed takes his best shot in the Tokyo 10,000 but can’t hang on to late lead5:44 p.m.: Penny Oleksiak isn’t letting a finish off the podium in the women’s 100-metre freestyle get her down.The 21-year-old swimmer set a Canadian record by swimming a personal-best 52.29 seconds in the event on Friday morning in Tokyo — 0.41 seconds faster than her gold-medal time in Rio five years ago. Also in Laura Armstrong’s Olympics roundup: Track cyclist Georgia Simmerling cheers on her partner, goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé; American swimmer Michael Andrew refuses to wear his mask in the mixed zone after the men’s 200-metre individual medley. Also, South Korean archer An San was targeted by online trolls for her haircut — and thousands stood up for her. 5:35 p.m.: Felicia Stancil of Lake Villa, Ill., finished fourth in the women’s BMX race Friday, narrowly missing a medal following her training partner’s terrifying crash.After falling behind at the start of the final, Stancil made up ground throughout the 400-meter course, but ultimately could not catch the leaders. Great Britain’s Bethany Shriever won gold, followed by silver medallist Mariana Pajon of Columbia and third-place finisher Merel Smulders of the Netherlands.5 p.m.: It is a tall task ahead for Canada’s basketball women at the Olympics, but you have to beat great teams to be a great team and they are aware of the challenge ahead — and of the significance of the game.Canada faces Spain in its final opening-round game in Tokyo on Sunday morning (9 p.m. ET, Saturday) and its dreams of winning an Olympic medal may be on the line. A win would virtually assure the Canadian women, 1-1, a spot in the quarterfinals Tuesday. The latest from Doug Smith: Canada’s surest route to the Olympic basketball quarterfinals is with a win over third-ranked Spain2:50 p.m.: On today’s episode of Tokyo Daily, Brendan Dunlop recaps Canada’s nail biting penalty kick shootout win over Brazil in women’s soccer with the Toronto Star’s Laura Armstrong. Canadian women continue to medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics with a gold in rowing, while Penny Oleksiak and Rosie MacLennan just miss the podium.Watch the latest Tokyo Daily here: Pitch perfect — Canadian women’s soccer team keeps golden dreams alive2 p.m.: It’s alwa

Tokyo Olympics Day 8: Swimmers Kylie Masse, Taylor Ruck up soon in medal race; Women’s soccer team facing U.S. in semifinals; Nigerian sprinter suspended for positive HGH test

The latest Olympics news from Tokyo and around the world on Friday. Web links to longer stories if available:

8:47 p.m.: In the first round of 400m hurdles, Canadian Marco Arop is competing in the Heat 2. Brandon McBride is competing in Heat 3.

Also in the Olympic Athletics category:

Women's 100: Crystal Emmanuel, Toronto (11.18 seconds) and Khamica Bingham, Brampton, Ont. (11.21), were 19th and 21st in qualifying round. Both will advance to the second round.

Women's 5,000: Andrea Seccafien, Guelph, Ont., was the 15th-fastest in qualifying (14:59.55) and will race in the final.

8:30 p.m.: Nigerian sprinter Blessing Okagbare has been provisionally suspended by the Athletics Integrity Unity after an out-of-competition test came back positive for human growth hormone.

Okagbare will no longer compete at the Tokyo Olympics, where she was set to run in the women’s 100-meter semifinal. The drug test sample was analyzed in a laboratory accredited by the World Anti-Doping Agency and when the positive test was discovered, the AIU was notified.

8:12 p.m.: The latest scores in the Olympic Athletics category:

In the first round of 400m hurdles, Canadian Sage Watson qualifies after coming in fourth place with a time 55.54.

In the second round, Canadian Noelle Montcalm came in sixth with a time of 55.85.

8:12 p.m.: In the Olympic triathalon mixed team event, Canadians Joanna Brown, Alexis Lepage, Amelie Kretz and Matthew Sharpe came in 15th with a time of 1:27:21.

8:08 p.m.: The U.S. women’s soccer team has defeated the Netherlands 3-2 to reach the Olympic semifinals.

8 p.m.: Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has expanded a state of emergency to areas surrounding Tokyo and extended it to the end of August, in the face of a record virus surge unfolding as his country hosts the Olympics.

The expansion comes after three straight days of record COVID-19 infections in Tokyo and as national daily infection figures soared over 10,000 for the first time since the pandemic began about 18 months ago. Tokyo on Friday posted 3,300 new cases.

7:15 p.m.: As the Olympic final of the men’s 10,000 metres wound down to its decisive laps Friday at Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium, Canada’s top distance runner Moh Ahmed found himself in extraordinary company. Ahmed, at more than one point, was running shoulder to shoulder with Joshua Cheptegei, the Ugandan who holds the world record in both the 10,000 and the 5,000 metres.

In the end, Ethiopian Selemon Barega’s final-lap surge won him the gold medal. Cheptegei settled for silver, and fellow Ugandan Jacob Kiplimo took bronze. Ahmed faded to sixth — the same result he’d achieved the last time he ran the 10,000 at the 2019 world championships.

The latest from Dave Feschuk: Canada’s Moh Ahmed takes his best shot in the Tokyo 10,000 but can’t hang on to late lead

5:44 p.m.: Penny Oleksiak isn’t letting a finish off the podium in the women’s 100-metre freestyle get her down.

The 21-year-old swimmer set a Canadian record by swimming a personal-best 52.29 seconds in the event on Friday morning in Tokyo — 0.41 seconds faster than her gold-medal time in Rio five years ago.

Also in Laura Armstrong’s Olympics roundup: Track cyclist Georgia Simmerling cheers on her partner, goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé; American swimmer Michael Andrew refuses to wear his mask in the mixed zone after the men’s 200-metre individual medley. Also, South Korean archer An San was targeted by online trolls for her haircut — and thousands stood up for her.

5:35 p.m.: Felicia Stancil of Lake Villa, Ill., finished fourth in the women’s BMX race Friday, narrowly missing a medal following her training partner’s terrifying crash.

After falling behind at the start of the final, Stancil made up ground throughout the 400-meter course, but ultimately could not catch the leaders. Great Britain’s Bethany Shriever won gold, followed by silver medallist Mariana Pajon of Columbia and third-place finisher Merel Smulders of the Netherlands.

5 p.m.: It is a tall task ahead for Canada’s basketball women at the Olympics, but you have to beat great teams to be a great team and they are aware of the challenge ahead — and of the significance of the game.

Canada faces Spain in its final opening-round game in Tokyo on Sunday morning (9 p.m. ET, Saturday) and its dreams of winning an Olympic medal may be on the line. A win would virtually assure the Canadian women, 1-1, a spot in the quarterfinals Tuesday.

The latest from Doug Smith: Canada’s surest route to the Olympic basketball quarterfinals is with a win over third-ranked Spain

2:50 p.m.: On today’s episode of Tokyo Daily, Brendan Dunlop recaps Canada’s nail biting penalty kick shootout win over Brazil in women’s soccer with the Toronto Star’s Laura Armstrong. Canadian women continue to medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics with a gold in rowing, while Penny Oleksiak and Rosie MacLennan just miss the podium.

Watch the latest Tokyo Daily here: Pitch perfect — Canadian women’s soccer team keeps golden dreams alive

2 p.m.: It’s always disappointing to have your Olympic journey end, but it must have been especially frustrating for Australia’s Aron Baynes, who was injured on the court before slipping in the bathroom.

Baynes, who also plays for the Raptors, will miss the rest of the Olympic men’s basketball tournament after sustaining a neck injury in what team doctor David Hughes called “a complicated series of events.” ​​

1:30 p.m.: Veteran soccer captain Christine Sinclair missed a crucial penalty against Brazil, but her team came through and the script flipped: Instead of Sinclair trying to carry Canada, Canada carried Sinclair, writes Bruce Arthur.

Next up for women’s soccer: Canada will take on the United States in the semifinals.

The latest from Bruce Arthur in Tokyo: Canadian women’s soccer team returns Olympic favour to captain Christine Sinclair

1 p.m.: Rugby Canada fired Jamie Cudmore, a former star player in charge of developing the next generation of talent, on Friday for a series of social media posts belittling the women’s sevens team.

His posts took aim at the sevens squad for its disappointing performance at the Tokyo Olympics.

Previously: Canada beats Brazil in women’s soccer, will face U.S. next; Canadian runner Mohammed Ahmed finished sixth in the men’s 10,000-metre; Rosie MacLennan fourth in trampoline; women’s eight rowers win first gold since 1992; Canada advances to finals in women’s 4 x 100 m medley relay.

For a full write-up of what you missed on Day 7 of the Tokyo Olympics, click here.

For full coverage of the Tokyo Olympics, click here.

Source : Toronto Star More   

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