Pender Street is Chinatown’s most renowned street. In 1912, the City of Vancouver widened it, leaving only 2 metres of the above-ground portion for Sam Kee’s business.
Still, a year later, in 1913, architects Brown and Gillam built the Sam Kee Building.
This building holds the Guinness World Record for shallowest commercial building.
People from the neighborhood thought that commercial use of this spot had become impossible.The base of the building is only 4’1” deep, from the sidewalk to the back of the building. The second floor is 6’ deep.
Its basement still spreads as far as underneath the sidewalks. At the time, that same basement was used as the only public baths of Vancouver’s Chinatown.
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