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The Sam Kee Building, located on 8 West Pender Street in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, is recorded in the Guinness Book of Records as the shallowest commercial building in the world. The six-foot-wide structure is easy to miss because it looks like the front of the larger building behind, to which it is attached.

The property was originally owned by the highly successful Chinese merchant Chang Toy, who was known in the Caucasian community as Sam Kee. Toy had purchased the standard sized lot in 1902 at the corner of Carrall and Pender street. In 1912, however, the municipal government made the decision to widen the road, and a large portion of Toy’s property was expropriated making commercial use of the remaining frontage impractical. When his demands at compensation were not met, Chang Toy erected a two-story commercial building in the available land in protest.

sam-kee-building-2

Photo credit: Can Pac Swire/Flickr

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© Amusing Planet, 2015.


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