Friday, November 2, 2012

Fan Tan Alley

Sometimes the best little shops are found in the most unlikely places.  I had walked all over downtown Victoria, but didn't find Mimi-worthy outfits until I stumbled across the shops lining Fan Tan Alley in Chinatown. 
Fan Tan Alley is only one of many alleys and passageways that connect the businesses and residences of Chinatown, making it one of the most fun neighborhoods to explore.  All kinds of interesting places are tucked into these narrow streets:  spas, art galleries, acupuncture clinics, grocery stores and law offices.  The architecture is unique.  There are the distinctive red roof  temples and paper lanterns, of course, but the inner courtyards and the brick buildings with wrought iron balconies are utterly charming.

 Immigrants arrived here in the mid 1800's, and since Victoria was a major port of entry on the west coast, many of them stayed.  Victoria's Chinatown is small, but it is the oldest one in Canada.

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