THE WING SANG BUILDING
The Wing Sang building is the oldest in Vancouver Chinatown. The Victorian Italianate structure located at 51 East Pender Street was constructed in 1889 for Yip Sang, a prominent Chinese-Canadian businessman whose Wing Sang Company flourished in an era when the Chinese faced discrimination and restrictions.
In 1901 the building was extended to 69 East Pender Street by architect Thomas Ennor Julian (best known for Holy Rosary Cathedral). In 1912, Yip Sang built a six-storey brick building across the alley behind Pender Street for his family.
An elevated passageway connected the two buildings. Beneath it ran Market Alley, a once thriving retail area with small shops and services which also served as a former center for the production of opium (legal in Canada until 1909). The building has had a rich and varied history and contains the oldest schoolroom in Vancouver. Wing Sang Building acquired historical preservation and heritage designation by the City of Vancouver in 1999.
More than four years of thoughtful restoration and renovation has turned this Vancouver heritage landmark into a private exhibition space for the Rennie Collection, an internationally acclaimed collection of contemporary art. Elegant, clean lines integrate with rich historic elements to create expansive spaces for art with focus on identity, social injustice, appropriation, painting and photography.