The Red Door

Canada #2 Chinatown, Victoria

If you’re walking along Pandora Avenue in downtown Victoria remember to look up, or you might miss the sign for Fan Tan Alley.

The entrance to Canada’s narrowest street is nondescript and you could easily walk past without noticing. Once inside though, you can’t help but look up. A thin strip of blue sky dotted with a line of bright red lanterns guides you through the alley to Chinatown.


Located on Fisgard Street, Victoria’s Chinatown is the oldest in Canada. Here you’ll find restaurants, grocers and medicinal shops side by side with those selling paper umbrellas and happy cats. In Fan Tan Alley, there are quirky stores where you can treat yourself to an ice cream, a vintage record or some handmade jewellery, soap or clothing.

At the top of Fisgard Street, the brightly decorated Gate of Harmonious Interest marks the main entrance to Chinatown.

Red and gold are favourite colours in Chinese culture, symbolising good luck, wealth and happiness, and we feel endowed with all three in this lively atmosphere. More strings of lanterns gaily crisscross the street while ornamental signs point the way to other narrow alleys.



It’s the colour red which catches our attention in Fan Tan Alley. This slender door, its red paint worn and patchy, has an air of mystery. There’s no number 23 or 24, just this door – halfway in between.


Perhaps Fan Tan Alley is too narrow to fit them all!

46 thoughts on “The Red Door

  1. So much lovely colour. I would love a red door. House numbering is a strange business especially if some numbers are considered unlucky. In our street there is no number 26. Just doesn’t exist. No idea why.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Isn’t that the most enticing of things – a door numbered 231/2 – very mysterious and just a little magical! I should have so wanted to peep behind that door. I love Chinatowns that encourage exploration and this one is so enticing!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. How fascinating to have a tiny alley to draw you in to Chinatown like that. Lovely to be able to have several visits and a good looks around…and some delicious food too, no doubt!

    Liked by 1 person

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