At the east end of town on 3rd Avenue is a small Chinatown of approximately 2,000 residents. Chinese immigrants came to Calgary  in the 1880s to work on the railroads and stayed to establish food markets, restaurants, and import stores. Chinatown has seen its share of prejudice, from marauding whites gaining revenge for an outbreak of smallpox to bungling city bureaucrats who demanded that the streets be narrow and signs be in Chinese to give the area an authentic look.
The Calgary Chinese Cultural Centre (197 1st St. SW, 403/262-5071, daily 9 a.m.–9 p.m.) is one of the largest such centers in Canada. It’s topped by a grand central dome patterned in the same style as the Temple of Heaven in Beijing. The centerpiece of its intricate tile work is a glistening golden dragon hanging 20 meters (66 ft) above the floor. Head up to the 3rd floor for the best views, passing a mural along the way.
At street level is a store selling traditional Chinese medicines and on the lower level is a small museum and gallery (daily 11 a.m.–5 p.m., adult $4, senior and child $2) displaying the cultural history of Calgarians of Chinese descent. One of the museum’s most intriguing pieces is the world’s oldest known seismograph, which dates to a.d. 132.