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Sam Kee Building

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Identification

Sam Kee Building
Jack Chow Building
296098

Map

Structure in General

low-rise building
existing [completed]
steel

Usages

office

Facts

  • 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.
  • Jack Chow, of Jack Chow Insurance, purchased the building in 1986 and fully renovated it.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The 10-foot wide basement level lies four feet underneath the Pender Street sidewalk, the only remaining glass sidewalk in the area.
  • At one time 13 businesses were housed here, including a public bath house in the basement.
  • 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.
  • The second floor is 70 inches wide due to the bay windows, 11 inches more than the first floor.

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More Information

Location

8 West Pender Street
8 West Pender Street between Carrall Street and Shanghai Alley
V6B 1R5
Downtown
Vancouver
British Columbia
Canada

Technical Data

21.74 ft
2
1
1913
1986

Involved Companies

Brown & Gillam

1986

Features & Amenities

  • City landmark
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