Chinatown home of once cherished Foo’s Ho Ho Restaurant to be added to Vancouver Heritage Register

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      The Vancouver Heritage Register is up for its annual update, with six locations nominated for inclusion in the list.

      One of these is the Sun Ah Hotel at 100-102 East Pender Street in Chinatown, former home of Foo’s Ho Ho Restaurant, a once valued establishment.

      The restaurant was popular for its home-style Cantonese cooking.

      The Vancouver Heritage Foundation notes on its website that the restaurant’s four-storey high neon sign “served as a landmark” in the neighbourhood.

      However, years after Foo’s Ho Ho closed, the sign was removed.

      Sun Ah Hotel is listed in the Canadian Register of Historic Places.

      Citing information from the City of Vancouver’s heritage conservation program, the federal register recalls online that the restaurant opened in 1954.

      It was owned and operated by the Quon family, according to the register.

      Moreover, it operated under different ownership since the late 1990s, the federal register continues.

      “The eatery represented one of the numerous restaurants and curio shops that opened in Chinatown after World War II to cater to non-Chinese curiosity and tastes,” the register explains.

      Moreover, “It indicates an important warming in attitudes towards the city’s Chinese, as well as a new phase in Chinatown’s commercial development.”

      The Sun Ah Hotel is a five-storey brick building on the southeast corner of East Pender and Columbia streets.

      According to the federal register, the building was constructed in 1911-12 for Loo Gee Wing, a Chinatown merchant.

      “Like some other successful Chinese merchants, Loo had made his fortune during the Gold Rush and invested in real estate both within and outside Chinatown, helping to shape the appearance of the city,” according to the register.

      The restaurant was on the ground floor and mezzanine. The upper floors served as a hotel.

      Now called the New Sun Ah Hotel, the building operates as a retirement home.

      Jason Olinek, assistant director of planning with the City of Vancouver, prepared a report to council about the heritage register’s update.

      “The Heritage Register is the basis by which buildings may be considered for protection through heritage designation, a Heritage Revitalization Agreement (HRA) or a covenant, including incentives to encourage retention and rehabilitation,” Olinek explained.

      The five other additions are: 3633 Selkirk Street (Rosemary Stable), 320 Union Street (Robert Pollock Residence), 1833 Yew Street (Lefeuvre Residence), 741 East Broadway (Raymar Block), and 818 Keefer Street (Roscoe Residence).

      The update also includes address changes to the following heritage properties: 1 West Hastings Street 369 Carrall Street; 837 Beatty Street 101 Smithe Street; 2840 Yukon Street House to 393 West 13th Avenue; and 2850 Yukon Street House to 395 West 13th Avenue.

      Olinek’s report is included in council agenda Tuesday (December 10).