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Vol. 50 No. 1 (2021)

“The most modern dining hall in the city”: Chinese Immigrants, Restaurants, and Social Spaces in St. John’s, Newfoundland, 1918–1945

January 15, 2022


The article looks at Chinese immigrants in Newfoundland, focusing on the restaurants they opened in St. John’s from 1918 through the mid-1940s. For the Chinese immigrants, restaurants were paths to economic stability and, for some, a way to establish themselves as respected members of the community. The restaurants were, however, also contested spaces, as civil authorities, drawing on racial, gendered, and class-based assumptions, saw them – and the social interactions taking place within them – as threatening to the moral order. This history of Chinese immigrants and their restaurants offers a diverse and complex urban history of St. John’s.