Sam Kee Building, Chinatown

The Sam Kee Building is the Narrowest Commercial Building in the World, holding living quarters on the top floor and an insurance company at the bottom, many signs and historical articles and photos adorn the many windows describing this unique building, which is truly one of a kind. CREDIT: Venture Vancouver, SOURCE:

The side view, indicated in paint shows where the back of the Sam Kee Building touches its neighbour.





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The Sam Kee Building is unassuming until seen up close, there, posted on the building and in it's numerous windows are the accolades given to this unique building which is recognized as the World's Narrowest Commercial Building. Its original construction was slated to be much larger but with the widening of the street in front, the Sam Kee Building Company refused to abandon plans for construction. Following its completion, thousands have stood marvelling at this tiny office space making it one of the most visited areas in Vancouver's Chinatown district.

The Sam Kee Building, built in 1913 and recognized by the Guinness Book of Records and Ripley's Believe or Not as the World's narrowest building at only 1.8 meter (6 feet) wide, it is one of the most distinct in the historic Chinatown district.

The lot which was originally owned by Chang Toy, owner of the Sam Kee Company, was larger, but the widening of the nearby Pender Street shortened the building space, however, Toy built on the space he had in response to a wager and used the basement to house public baths and the two top levels as offices and housing respectively, constructing bay windows to make the most of the space allotted.

This amazing building can easily be overlooked by those not looking for it, the peeling and faded green and red paint on the exterior clearly marks the boundaries of this narrow wonder and many news articles and other memorabilia including official signs from both record societies are displayed for the public to see.

The Sam Kee Building is a part of Vancouver's Heritage Walks from the City of Vancouver Planning Department which takes visitors to many distinct buildings in the different boroughs of Vancouver, which includes some of the more prominent in Chinatown.

Although the title for the narrowest building has been challenged on numerous occasions, it continues to be recognized as the narrowest commercial building in the World.

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The Sam Kee Building was never meant to become a legacy, but after the space in the intended store front was shortened by the widening of Pender St, Sam Kee commissioned this narrow building, considered the narrowest commercial building in the world recognized both by Ripley's Believe it or Not and the Guinness Book of Records.

Location of Sam Kee Building

Use the interactive map below to locate and explore the areas around Sam Kee Building

8 West Pender St.

Map of Chinatown, Downtown Vancouver

Click the brown GEMS on the map to navigate to the other activities within this region

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