I almost had to twist my father’s arm to get these photos onto Flickr, but it was well worth it. Since Boxing Day, he has been busy scanning our family slides, including some pictures of Montreal Chinatown back in 1984. The first photo is showing the block on St-Laurent, below De La Gauchetière, where the Hong Kong Chinese rôtisserie and deli currently stands, just minus the open flight of stairs serving the basement floor. The second floor restaurant Joy Inn (in standard “Chinese font”) was advertising dim sum servings for only 85 cents, and next door gift shop Wah Fung was already in business, with a cartoon Bruce Lee on the sign hanging above its entrance.
Hong Kong already existed in 1984, but was actually a grocery store on De La Gauchetière, between St-Laurent and St-Dominique, recalls my father. The shop belonged to the 馬 (Ma) family, that also owned the Kowloon fish and meat shop nearby. Both shops were on the right-hand side of the street on the next photo, and relocated on St-Laurent a couple of years later, when my childhood memories finally catch up to.
1984 was also the year that saw the inauguration of two new housing projects in Chinatown, one on St-Urbain and Dorchester (now René-Lévesque) and another on St-Dominique and De La Gauchetière. On the other hand, other construction projects, such as “Centre Chinatown” (see next photo), beyond the current emplacement of Chinatown’s eastern gate, never saw the light and disappeared from people’s imagination.