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252 East Georgia Street

252 East Georgia Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6A, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1986/09/23

Exterior view of 252 East Georgia Street; City of Vancouver, 2004
Front facade
Interior view of 252 East Georgia Street; City of Vancouver, 2004
Interior of store
No Image

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1910/01/01 to 1916/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/03/29

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The historic place consists of a two-storey commercial block located on the south side of East Georgia Street, at the southern edge of Vancouver's historic Chinatown. The bulding sits on two separate parcels, both addressed as 252 East Georgia Street.

Heritage Value

Constructed between 1910-1916, the heritage value in this building is found in the typicality of its architecture and use. Heritage value is also found in its association with the Louie family and the development of their grocery wholesale business.

Located at the edge of Chinatown, this building was used as a stable by, and likely constructed for, the local building materials firm of Champion and White. This stable was built of brick, which is not surprising since their stable on Main Street burned down in 1912. In about 1930 the building was adapted for use as a home and warehouse by the H.Y. Louie Company. The company was established by Hok Yat Louie in the early 1900s. Under his son Tong's direction, it became the leading grocery and drygoods business in the Province. Most people know it today as London Drugs.

These associations, especially with H.Y. Louie and the history of the Chinese community in Vancouver, contribute to the heritage value of the building. The wholesale grocery trade was one of the few areas where Chinese businessmen were able to compete with white men, although in Vancouver these businessmen were repeatedly subjected to efforts by the white community to exclude them. In the context of this racism, the building symbolizes the economic struggles of Chinese families and how they addressed them. The story of the Louie family and their subsequent success also symbolizes aspects of the Chinese Canadian and immigrant experience more generally, in which the first generation works to establish later generations. In this case, Tong, the second son, attended the University of British Columbia and later led the expansion of the family business, breaking down barriers and redefining what it meant to be Chinese in Canada.

The use of the building by the Louies, as both residence and warehouse, was a common combination in Chinatown at the time and contributes to its heritage value. The location on East Georgia Street is also important as this street was lined with similar types of businesses. The architecture is typical of its time and function.

Source: City of Vancouver Heritage Conservation Program

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of 252 East Georgia Street include its:
- location on East Georgia Street, on the southern edge of Chinatown, in an area of numerous wholesale and retail grocery businesses
- ongoing use of the ground floor spaces for business, including wholesale and retail grocery sales
- surviving structural divisions on the ground floor and remnants of the stable/truck entrance to the building
- red brick facing and other features typical of a commercial block of this period, such as the cornice
- fenestration, including features such as the size, distribution, arrangement, and use of sash mechanism



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

Developing Economies
Trade and Commerce

Function - Category and Type



Single Dwelling
Commerce / Commercial Services

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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