360 Riot Walk: Student Activity
In the fall of 1907, Vancouver was witness to the largest race riot in Canadian history. Over 25,000 participants from across the city and surrounding areas marched through areas settled by Chinese and Japanese immigrants causing property damage and injuries to both protesters and defendants. 360 Riot Walk is a 360 video walking tour of the 1907 anti-Asian Riots, dedicated to raising awareness of this tragic event and reminding us of its impact on the residents of this area today.
The 360 Riot Walk virtual tour follows the route that the rioters took over a two-day period. While the walking tour is best viewed on site in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside using an iPad or tablet, it can also be viewed virtually using any device with browser capability. The tour contains 13 stops, each one devoted to a particular location using panoramic photographs of the neighbourhood, archival images and documents and narratives. The audio description for each stop ranges from 3-6 minutes in length, and is available in the four main languages spoken in the area at the time: English, Cantonese, Japanese and Punjabi. Allow approximately 45 minutes to complete the virtual tour.
The 1907 race riots demonstrated the rampant and virulent racism that was endemic in North America during this period. Racism was experienced by people of colour in all aspects of life, whether it be personal, professional, social or economic. The tour highlights the impact of racism on the lives of immigrant Canadians and Indigenous people who lived in Vancouver at the turn of the 20th century. Several themes will be evident as users navigate the interactive website. Consider using one or more of these themes to connect the virtual tour to the BC Social Studies curriculum (Grade 5/Grade 10 Social Studies).
- European Settlement
- Displacement of Indigenous Peoples
- Anti-Asian Racism
- Institutionalized Racism
- Transnational Racism
- Social Class, Labour Movement and Race
- Resistance, Resilience, and Reconciliation
Accessing and Utilising Resources
You can access the free tour online by clicking “Launch the Tour” in the menu bar. As stated above, this tour is accessible in English, Cantonese, Japanese and Punjabi.
The 360riotwalk.ca website has a variety of resources, including:
- Blog posts by historians and contributors to the project – https://360riotwalk.ca/writings-2/
- Transcripts and accessibility keyboard shortcuts – https://360riotwalk.ca/accessibility/
- “Talking the Walk: Reflections on 360 Riot Walk” recorded panel discussions – https://360riotwalk.ca/talking-the-walk/
White Riot: The 1907 Anti-Asian Riots in Vancouver by Henry Tsang and contributors (Arsenal Pulp Press, Spring 2023) is a book based on the 360 Riot Walk project.
We recommend utilising this project by:
- Having your students independently take the online tour
- Having your students collectively take the tour in a computer lab or with tablets, or
- Demonstrating the tour through a projector or screen in front of your class
The following student activities are created to help guide your conversations pre, during, and post tour. Please feel free to utilise them all or select the ones that work best for your classroom environment. The three segments are ‘360 Riot Walk Guiding Questions’ (pre-tour question set), ‘The Virtual Tour’ (virtual tour design), and ‘360 Riot Walk Debrief’ (student debrief and reflection).
Activity 1: 360 Riot Walk Guiding Questions
- Why did Europeans settle in Vancouver?
- Why did South Asians, Chinese, and Japanese immigrants come to Vancouver?
- What restrictions and hardships did immigrants and settlers from Asia face in the years leading up to the riot?
- What social and political conditions existed before 1907 that contributed to the riot?
- What is institutional racism?
- Who was responsible for the riot?
- Where did the rioters go? Why?
- What did the police/authorities do to prevent the riot?
- What other restrictions were applied to people of colour in BC after the riot?
- The 1907 race riot took place over one hundred years ago. Provide examples of how this history continues to impact Vancouver.
- Can we conclusively state that things are better today? How have things changed in treatment of immigrant communities today?
Activity 2: The Virtual Tour
360 Riot Walk was designed and produced for the purpose of exposing the racist history of our past, but also to draw attention to the ongoing struggle of marginalized peoples in these parts of the city. Take a moment to think about the design and functionality of the virtual tour, then complete the chart. Consider the use of colour and black and white imagery, the audio narrative at each stop, or the contrast between historic and contemporary images.
|Examples of design that|
enhance your learning?
|Image Example||Site Design Example|
|Examples of functionality that|
enhance your learning?
|Audio Narrative Examples||Image Examples|
Activity 3: 360 Riot Walk Debrief
Take a few minutes and think about what you have learned by talking the 360 Riot Walk virtual tour. As you reflect on what you have learned, add examples to each of the columns below.
- What part of the tour rocked your understanding of the past and the history of racism in BC?
- What pieces stuck with you and have shaped your understanding of these events and of the racist history of the province?
- How do we turn over a new leaf and move forward with change regarding the treatment of marginalized people in our society?