East Pender Street westwards (2)

E Pender west 3

Here’s what looks like a companion image to our previous post. We think the taxi in the distance on the left was parked in the same spot, so the two shots were probably taken a few minutes apart. If we were correct in that identification, it dates from around 1980, when the Lee building (behind the circular red sign) had been rebuilt after a 1972 fire, and the Vancouver Centre (perfectly aligned behind the Sun Tower) in 1976. The building in the centre of the picture with the much larger top floor balcony was built for Chinese owners in 1923, designed by A E Henderson and originally called the ‘Business Building’. It replaced an earlier 1914 building designed by W H Chow.

Mings - postcardThe building with the red canopy was altered in 1921 to add a fifth floor, but it was originally built in 1913 by clothing mogul William Dick, designed by H B Watson and cost $30,000. Today it’s the home of the Mah Society (who carried out the 1920 alterations) and it’s currently receiving a comprehensive restoration. On the extreme right is the former International Chop Suey House, later Ming’s restaurant. We looked in greater detail at its history in an earlier post. This postcard gives a sense of what the restaurant was like in the late 1950s or early 60s.

There’s a Fred Herzog photograph of this block from 1968 that shows the street was still lined with telegraph poles that blocked some of the flamboyant neon that shouted for patrons to visit the restaurants that lined the street. This block has seen little apparent change to the buildings since the 1920s, and while other less historic parts of Chinatown are being redeveloped, little change is contemplated here.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 800-4779


Posted August 18, 2016 by ChangingCity in Chinatown, Still Standing

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