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Vancouver Chinatown Foundation receives $1M for first-of-its-kind 'immersive space' (VIDEO)

The Chinatown Storytelling Centre is set to open in September.

Vancouver's Chinatown has received a funding boost aimed at preserving the area's cultural heritage.

BMO Financial Group has donated $1 million toward a new public "immersive space" called the Chinatown Storytelling Centre.

The Vancouver Chinatown Foundation says: "The Chinatown Storytelling Centre will be the first permanent space of its kind in Canada with programming, exhibits, and interactive kiosks sharing personal stories and featuring short films that provide opportunities to learn about people and places of significance in Canadian history."

Foundation chair Carol Lee says the timing is ideal, given the recent rise in anti-Asian racism.

"Hopefully, education is really the key to mutual understanding and hopefully a new narrative will emerge," explains Lee.

BMO has a role in the neighbourhood's history dating back over 100 years.

It was the first national financial institution in the country to allow people of Chinese descent to open bank accounts. Popular Vancouver resident and BMO employee Tommy Mah was also appointed first bank manager of Asian descent in Canada in 1966.

The 4,000 square-foot centre, set to open in September, will be located at the former BMO branch on Pender Street and contain a feature exhibit dedicated to Mah.