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Your Location: World North America Canada British Columbia Vancouver Sam Kee Building

Sam Kee Building


Sam Kee Building
Jack Chow Building


Structure in General

low-rise building
existing [completed]




  • Width of the building is 4 feet, 11 inches at the ground floor.
  • Ripley's Believe It of Not - World's thinnest building.
  • Guinness Book of Records - Shallowest commercial building in the world.
  • At one time 13 businesses were housed here, including a public bath house in the basement.
  • Jack Chow, of Jack Chow Insurance, purchased the building in 1986 and fully renovated it.
  • The second floor is 70 inches wide due to the bay windows, 11 inches more than the first floor.
  • The 10-foot wide basement level lies four feet underneath the Pender Street sidewalk, the only remaining glass sidewalk in the area.
  • Chang Toy, owner of The Sam Kee Company, bought the 30-foot-wide lot in 1903, but when the city widened Pender Street in 1912 it expropriated 24 feet off the front of the lot, without compensation, leaving what most believed to be a useless piece of property.
  • There is a tunnel beneath the building that, in the early days, was used as an escape route when local opium dens were frequently raided by police.
  • In 2003, a challenge was issued by a group in Pittsburgh claiming their Skinny Building is the true title holder as the world's skinniest building, a debate that is still on-going.

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More Information


8 West Pender Street between Carrall Street and Shanghai Alley
V6B 1R5

Technical Data

21.74 ft

Involved Companies


Features & Amenities

  • City landmark