“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Vancouver in Greater Vancouver Regional District, British Columbia — The Canadian Pacific

Chinese Freemasons Building

City of Vancouver Heritage Building


—Architect: Samuel Buttrey Birds (1913) —

Chinese Freemasons Building Marker image. Click for full size.
By Andrew Ruppenstein, July 1, 2011
1. Chinese Freemasons Building Marker
Inscription. The Chi Kung Tong, later the Chinese Freemasons, purchased this building in 1907. It included meeting rooms, a male dormitory and a Chinese school - uses common to Chinese Society Buildings. The Chi Kung Tong assisted early immigrants from China who took part in the Cariboo gold rush. The Freemasons were also intensively involved in the politics of China, including Dr. Sun-Yat Sen's efforts to bring democracy to his native country. Built in 1901, the building blends Victorian style along the Carrall Street side with traditional Chinese style - recessed balconies and ironwork - along the Pender Street side. It was renovated in 1913 for the Bank of Vancouver. In 1975, the two facades were retained as part of a redevelopment, an early effort to integrate historic preservation into urban development in Vancouver. In 2007 it was rehabilitated to incorporate seniors housing.
Location. 49° 16.84′ N, 123° 6.279′ W. Marker is in Vancouver, British Columbia, in Greater Vancouver Regional District. Marker is at the intersection of West Pender Street and Carrall Street, on the right when traveling west on West Pender Street. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 5 West Pender Street, Vancouver, British Columbia V6B 1R3, Canada.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are
Chinese businesses damaged by race riots at north west corner of Carrall Street (at Pender) image. Click for full size.
By Philip Timms, circa 1907
2. Chinese businesses damaged by race riots at north west corner of Carrall Street (at Pender)
This image, provided courtesy of the Vancouver Public Library, shows the Chinese Freemasons Building shortly after being damaged in the anti-Chinese riot in 1907. On September 7th, 1907, what started as a parade by the Asiatic Exclusion League turned into a riot, with an angry mob wreaking havoc and terrorizing the inhabitants of Vancouver's Chinatown.
within walking distance of this marker. The Old Maple (approx. 0.3 kilometers away); "Gassy Jack" (approx. 0.3 kilometers away); Carnegie Library (approx. 0.4 kilometers away); Flack Block (approx. 0.4 kilometers away); Dominion Building (approx. 0.4 kilometers away); 64 Pounder Guns (approx. 0.4 kilometers away); Sherman (approx. half a kilometer away); Here Stood Hamilton (approx. half a kilometer away). Click for a list of all markers in Vancouver.
Also see . . .
1. Chinese Freemasons Building.'s page for the Chinese Freemasons Building. On the architecture's heritage value: "...The architecture is of heritage value because of the contrast between the Pender and Carrall Street facades, one of which is a typical commercial facade for the era (Carrall Street) and the other which reflects Chinatown's particular style of open balconies and generous glazing. Substantial alterations were undertaken by prominent Vancouver architect Samuel Buttrey Birds in 1913, perhaps related to the creation of a branch of the Bank of Vancouver on the ground floor. The facades are all that remain of the original building; they were retained when the rest of the building was demolished in 1975. This decision is significant for reflecting the emergence of a preservation agenda in the City of Vancouver's development
Chinese Freemasons Building image. Click for full size.
By Andrew Ruppenstein, July 1, 2011
3. Chinese Freemasons Building
The marker is just visible here to the right of the door in the middle of the building.
planning policy for the historic Chinatown district at that time."
(Submitted on March 22, 2012.) 

2. Chinese Freemasons. The Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon provides a history of Chinese fraternal organizations in British Columbia. (Submitted on March 22, 2012.) 
Categories. Asian AmericansFraternal or Sororal Organizations
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California. This page has been viewed 629 times since then and 95 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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