Plan impacts historic Chinatown church

Status of new or continuing risks to heritage sites

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Plan impacts historic Chinatown church

Postby newsposter » Sun Oct 26, 2008 7:52 pm

A new seniors development in Chinatown will impact the Chinese United Church, a category B heritage site. Going to Calgary Planning Commission on October 30.

City Administration is supporting the plan, which purports to preserve or re-use the facade, while demolishing the rest of the church. The Calgary Heritage Authority has expressed "strong concerns" and a preference for adaptive reuse of the church. The heritage planners' comments as noted in the report also suggest some unhappiness on their part (in newsposter's opinion). Here is the heritage part of the CPC report:


The subject site contains the existing Chinese United Church which is identified as a Category ‘B’ site on the City’s inventory of Evaluated Historic Resources. City policy states:

“Category B” sites or buildings are very significant in certain respects. Additions or alterations should be undertaken in accordance with standards approved from time to time by the Calgary Heritage Authority and outlined in the “Province of Alberta’s Guidelines for the Rehabilitation of Designated Historic Resources”*.

*Note – The Provincial Guidelines have been superseded by the “Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada.”

The application has been circulated to the City of Calgary’s Heritage Department and the Calgary Heritage Authority (Appendix VIII). The Heritage Department have expressed that the building is not a statutory designated historic resource and the contemplated alterations to the church do not conform to the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada. In addition to this the Heritage Department has asked that the applicant submit the following prior to release of the development permit:

1. Detailed plans for a public interpretive feature to convey the history and significance of the site; and

2. More detailed technical information on how the original façade and bell tower will be preserved – in situ? Dismantled and reconstructed? etc.

The historical significance has been examined in relation to the proposed development. If retained the existing church building would not yield its full development potential, as the structure would limit the size of the use adapted to fit the building. The addition of the 72 dwelling units and rehabilitation and reuse of a portion of the existing church is more beneficial to the Chinatown community as it will add essential housing for seniors within the community. Additionally as the Chinese United Church is not a designated historic resource therefore the subject alteration to the existing building is supported by Administration.

Here is a link to the complete CPC report: ... 8_0247.pdf
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Postby newsposter » Fri Feb 27, 2009 3:00 pm

Formerly posted here: ... =1527#1527
Just combining these related stories...

Fears grow over vanishing culture
Jason Markusoff, Calgary Herald, Published: Saturday, January 24, 2009

As another Chinese seniors apartment tower is set to rise to meet soaring demand, the Chinatown Home-work Club attracts only seven children...

One of the first community hubs, around 1912, was the Chinese Mission. After anti-immigration policies were relaxed following the Second World War, the bigger Chinese United Church went up next door, in 1954. It had pews for 180 worshippers, but the main feature was its upstairs gymnasium which doubled as a language classroom, wedding hall and, for a while, a movie theatre.

The Calgary Mission building was torn down in 1970 for the Oi Kwan Place senior's apartments, and construction will likely begin this spring to turn the church site into a 16-storey Oi Kwan Place II.

But in a nod to the church's legacy, its old, brick facade, five-storey bell tower will stay in place, the assisted-living facility rising behind it.

The result will be one of Chinatown's most striking blends of tradition and modernity, although the complex's manager says preserving the elders' lifestyle matters far more than the semi-pointed arch windows or belfry brickwork...

Full story: (link unavailable)

Here is a link to a report on the future of Chinatown done in 1969: ... px?id=2272

Image from ... hinese.htm
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Postby newsposter » Mon Mar 19, 2012 4:09 pm

Here is an update photo, thanks to Entheosfog at

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