VANCOUVER, B.C. (Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh territories) — In response to the loss of treasured local businesses that serve cultural communities, OneCity Councillor Christine Boyle wants Vancouver to do more to protect heritage restaurants and grocers.
On Tuesday, Boyle will introduce a motion to find ways to ensure the survival of these cultural food assets. It directs staff to explore updated heritage rules, designated cultural zones, redevelopment protections and other ways to prevent the loss of these beloved local gems.
“Traditional and culturally rooted food is a vital way that people connect with their identity and community,” said Boyle. “Vancouver must do more to ensure these community spaces survive and thrive as the city changes.”
OneCity will host a panel discussion tonight with community members from five Vancouver organizations who are working to preserve culturally significant restaurants and other small businesses. Food + Culture: How local government can help protect the cultural spaces that feed us will include speakers from the Joyce Street Action Network, hua foundation, Building Bridges with Rwanda, the Punjabi Market Collective and Heritage Vancouver.
“It’s an honour to highlight the hard work of communities in protecting the nourishing places that mean so much to them,” said Boyle. “Every culture has those special foods and treasured restaurants or grocers that connect people to them — now they’re coming together to ensure their survival.”
Redevelopment has been concentrated on arterial streets, especially in places like Joyce-Collingwood and Chinatown. This has put pressure on small businesses, eroding the cultural fabric of neighbourhoods and erasing the people who live there.
“Everyone can relate to the experience of losing a favourite restaurant but for racialized communities that’s a place where you belong,” said Boyle. “When you can’t even buy the ingredients you need to make these dishes at home it cuts at your identity in a profound way.”
OneCity Councillor Christine Boyle