Sam Kee Building

8 West Pender Street, Vancouver
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The Guinness Book of Records lists 8 West Pender as the 'narrowest commercial building in the world'.  It's slim width is due to the City expropriating a lot from businessman Chang Toy (known to the caucasian community as Sam Kee) to widen Pender Street, refusing to compensate him for the remaining sliver of property that had little value. Toy accepted a bet from a friend that he couldn't build something usable on the site, and proved him wrong. The building is just 6 feet wide at ground level, with projecting bay windows on the second floor and a full basement that runs underneath the sidewalk above.  It was bought by the Jack Chow Insurance Company in 1986, who put in lights and windows to showcase the unique property. (1913 photo from Vancouver City Archives)

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1913
2024
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