The Lim Sai Hor Kow Mock Benevolent Association Building houses the Canadian headquarter of Lim Societies. This three-storey brick and timber frame building, located at the southwestern edge of Chinatown, is significant in its architectural design as well as its cultural heritage.
The significance of the Lim Sai Hor Kow Mock Benevolent Association Building lies in its ownership history and architecture.
It was built in 1903 and originally housed the Chinese Empire Reform Association, founded by the famous Chinese scholar and statesman Kang Youwei. The Empire Reform Association advocated to modern China under Imperial rule, but lost out to the revolutionaries, led by Dr. Sun Yat-sen, who overthrew the Imperial Qing Dynasty in 2011. The Empire Reform Association began to lose support. It sold the building to the Lim Sai Ho Kow Mock Benevolent Association in 1945.
The Lim Sai Hor Kow Mock Benevolent Association has been in Canada since 1908 when the Lim Sai Hor Society was founded in Victoria, BC to unite and assist the Lim clansman in Canada. In 1926, Vancouver became the headquarter of all Lim Societies in Canada.
The building is an example of a once common building type in this part of Chinatown. Architectural elements included a double-storey ground floor, the recessed balconies on the second and third floors, and the double frontages onto to Shanghai Alley and Carrall Street.
Lim means “forest” in Chinese and thus the colour green is used in both the building’s interior and exterior.
Since acquiring the building, the Lim Sai Hor Kow Mock Benevolent Association has occupied the third floor as its society hall to house society-related functions such as an alter, reading room, and classrooms for Chinese lessons for the society’s youths.
The heritage value of the Lim Sai Hor Kow Mock Benevolent Association was formally recognized and listed in the Canadian Register of Historic Places in 2003.
The restoration work of Lim Sai Hor Kow Mock Benevolent Association Building began in 2016. Work includes rehabilitation of the Carrall Street façade, the Shanghai Alley façade, a full roof replacement, repairs at the North and South façade, and building systems upgrade.
Chinese Canadian Historical Society of British Columbia (2005). Historic Study of the Society Buildings in Chinatown. Report prepared for the City of Vancouver. Available from City of Vancouver. http://vancouver.ca/files/cov/historic-study-of-the-society-buildings-in-chinatown.pdf
Parks Canada. Canada’s Historic Places, Lim Sai Hor Association Building. Parks Canada Website. http://www.historicplaces.ca/en/rep-reg/place-lieu.aspx?id=2809