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Vietnamese community split over Little Saigon

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Lingering divisions in the old country seem to have followed local Vietnamese-Canadians to their adopted homeland.  Little Saigon is the proposed name for a stretch of Kingsway between Fraser and Nanaimo Streets known for its Pho restaurants and beauty salons. 

But not everyone in the community agrees with the choice.  Some feel it would re-open wounds left from the end of the Vietnam War in 1975.  When the conflict ended, the capital, once called Saigon, was renamed Ho Chi Minh City by the Communists.  Vancouver’s first Vietnamese immigrants left to escape that regime. 

Supporters have been pushing for the name for over a year, arguing the City of Vancouver has other ethnic-specific areas like Chinatown, Little Italy and the Punjabi Market.

The city has agreed to consider creating Little Saigon as a new business area after members of the community presented staff with a 3,000 signature petition.  It has also promised to consult the neighbourhood next spring before going ahead with the formal naming of the district, which would include signage.

According to the 2006 census, Vancouver is home to just over 13,000 Vietnamese people and Metro Vancouver has almost double that number of people.