One of the most curious aspects about Canadian Chinese cultural history is the role of opera theatres. They served as the public face of the community, cultural ambassadors or even artistic curiosities, but at the same time provided Chinese audiences the intimate world of emotive musical drama. Because of their public role, they were often ambitious projects. Since first appearing in Victoria in the 1860s, Chinese theatres played an integral role in its community life. Featuring performance of Cantonese opera, the regional genre known to the majority of Chinese immigrants that came from the Pearl River Delta of southern China, these theatres provided crucial entertainment. Chinese theatres’ success in Victoria, and later in Vancouver, was not an isolated phenomenon, but rather closely connected to other cities along the Pacific coast. The opera business waxed and waned, in large part as a result of the Chinese exclusionist policy in Canada and United States. In the 1910s and 1920s, through joint ventures, Chinese in Canada and the United States succeeded in forming a network of opera performance and revived their fluidity of movement in the Pacific Northwest region. Because this network returned significant mobility to troupes and performers, Chinese theatres flourished again in North America. This article provides a preliminary overview of this body of troupes and performers in Canada, its impact and the national and transnational forces that shaped it. It addresses key issues related to this history: the effect of immigration control, the relevance of Chinese theatres to community life, and the transborder crossings.