Originally Posted by xzmattzx
Afer visiting and seeing in pictures the Chinatowns in New York City, Washington DC, Philadelphia, and Toronto, I am kind of used to Chinatowns that are packed to the brim with buildings and people. Ottawa's Chinatown doesn't fit this mold, so it's a little bit of a surprise. It still looks pretty nice, though.
I think it's because of a couple of reasons. For one, Ottawa's never been a huge Asian destination, so our Chinatown is pretty small, and what there is is still pretty working class. As well, it's a a fair distance from the tourist areas. It's on the west side of downtown, while most of the touristy stuff is on the eastern side, and it's a solid 30-40 minute walk from Parliament Hill. Plus, it's pretty annoying to drive through and there's no rapid transit that's really nearby. Add it all up, and you get a working class Asian neighborhood with a significantly lower volume of tourists (though locals know it's a great place for cheap, awesome food!) which gives it a much different feel from more prominent Chinatowns. It's an interesting little neighborhood, though there are a few parts off Somerset that can get a bit sketchy, especially to the south, so it's best to stay on the main drag if you're there at night.
Of course, that might just be my perspective, I've never lived there. I've always been more of a Centretown East'er.