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Chan House

658 Keefer Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6A, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1994/11/21

Exterior view of the Chan House; City of Vancouver, 2007
Front (north) elevation
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Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/01/16

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Chan House at 658 Keefer Street is a two-and-one-half storey wood frame building located in the Strathcona neighbourhood adjacent to Vancouver’s Historic Chinatown, on the south side of the street immediately west of Heatley Avenue.

Heritage Value

The heritage value of the Chan House lies in its associative and architectural significance.

Constructed in 1906, the Chan House at 658 Keefer Street is of heritage value principally because of its association with its early and long-term owners. Beginning in 1958 it was owned by Chinatown merchant Walter Chan and his wife Mary. Mary Chan, listed as sole occupant since 1974, was a community activist, whose leadership included preventing the construction of a freeway through Strathcona that would have destroyed much of this historic and vibrant neighbourhood. It was at this house where such social activism created the Strathcona Property Owners and Tenants Association, and ultimately led to scrapping much of the large-scale urban renewal project in favour of zoning and development that was more respectful of the neighbourhood.

The architectural significance of the Chan House lies in being an excellent example of Edwardian design. Its design is typical of working-class housing constructed during the period, featuring a full width porch with turned columns and a bay window projecting on to the porch. Its massing and height, with two full floors set above a basement, sets it prominently on the site.

Source: City of Vancouver Heritage Conservation Program

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the Chan House Edwardian architectural design include its:
- location in Vancouver’s Strathcona neighbourhood, adjacent to Chinatown
- residential form and massing comprised of two full floors and an attic, and raised up on a basement with secondary centrally placed attic gable in the front and rear
- setback from and relationship to the street
- front elevation consisting of a full width front porch with three equally spaced turned wood columns, with the base below the railings enclosed and topped by a half-hipped roof
- double hung wood windows with sill horns on the upper sashes, placed on the front face in a central paired arrangement at the attic level, and a balanced placement of single windows on the upper floor, and a bay window arrangement on the main floor
- double hung windows placed in a single arrangement on all other sides, with the paired arrangement at the rear, upper floor as the lone exception
- offset entry on main floor with a small fixed light window on the left side
- decorative main entry door including multi-panel boards and fine decorative dentil details along base of window set into the door
- enclosed soffit
- original narrow wood lap siding evident under the existing asbestos siding



British Columbia

Recognition Authority

City of Vancouver

Recognition Statute

Vancouver Charter, s.582

Recognition Type

Community Heritage Register

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Peopling the Land
Migration and Immigration

Function - Category and Type


Multiple Dwelling


Single Dwelling

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

City of Vancouver Heritage Conservation Program

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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