We’ve done two previous blog posts on Victoria’s iconic Chinatown district, and tonight we’ve got a follow-up story to share.  Our previous blogs “Beijing Toad” and “A Town Within The City” discuss the heritage and history of the area in quite some depth, so you may wish to visit those posts.

Chinatown - Canada's Narrowest Street - Victoria BC Canada

Chinatown - Canada's Narrowest Street - Victoria BC Canada

This is Fan Tan Alley, Canada’s narrowest street.  Right in the heart of the oldest Chinatown district in Canada, this street is a local icon and a tourist destination alike.  Trouble is brewing between two factions in Victoria in regards to adding 2 stories to a section of building. One side argues that the restoration required is very expensive and 2 floors of condominiums are required to offset those costs.  The other camp argues that ANY changes to the structure of these historic buildings will nullify the heritage aspect.

The local newspaper article “The future of Chinatown: Would a redevelopment proposal allow it to flourish, or tarnish its heritage?” printed in the Times-Colonist discusses the details behind this story.

Chinatown - Victoria BC Canada

Chinatown - Victoria BC Canada

Regular visitors to our blog know of our deep love for architecture, and specifically our local heritage architecture.  It’s part of what we do here at The Hollow, we love to document these old and interesting piece of historic significance.

On this particular issue, the issue of adding floors to one of the oldest buildings in the city, we are certain in our opinion even if it is controversial.  The structure of these buildings must not be modified, under any circumstances.  It might be a case where the city and perhaps the province must band together and help provide the needed funds to ensure that this heritage is preserved for all to enjoy today and in the future.

I am a businessman myself, and fully understand the economics of this all.  That changes nothing.  This is the core area of the heart of the city that was built right at the cities birth.  This is not something to be tampered with.

Thanks so kindly for your visit here, we really appreciate it.  Please do feel free to leave any comments you may have, we truly love to hear from all our visitors.




  1. avatar Len Saltiel says:

    Love the shot of the alley Toad. Great POV. It seems that everywhere around us the history is being torn down or changed. It’s a shame. When I visit Europe, I see all of the history. Here in North America, there seems to be only new (not necessarily better) stuff.

  2. avatar Jimi Jones says:

    Great perspective in that awesome alley shot, Toad. I love getting an inside look at places around the world I’ve never visited. Great work, my friend.

  3. avatar Chris Nitz says:

    That is a lot of boxes in front of that store. It surprises me anyone can find anything in that mess 😉 I do enjoy that green door in the first shot. Nice work as always!

  4. avatar Jim Nix says:

    wow such an interesting place to shoot, and great shots Toad!

  5. avatar A.Barlow says:

    That first shot reminded me of Harry Potter. Really cool looking place. Looks like so much to shoot there.

  6. avatar Edith Levy says:

    Great shots Toad but I particularly ike the firstone of the alley. You know just having been in Italy I think we Canadians can learn a thing or 2 from our European friends. They know how maintain
    And restore historical buildings while staying true to the architecture and essence of a building.

  7. avatar Mike says:

    Hiya Toad. I’m all for expansion and growth, it’s inevitable and it’s good. Having said that, I am abject to the idea of destroying history for the sake of growth. This street is classic and needs to remain pristine. (IMHO) I would be like converting Fly’s into a three story condo with a view. Fly’s, if you didn’t know already, was a photograph studio which directly bordered the OK Corral.

    • Great, great comments here today Mike, thank you very much! I really do agree with you my friend; we really need to take care of our history and heritage, at the very least for our future generations, and at most for all to enjoy. Thanks so much for your visit & comments, that means so much!