Architect: Lyle Hallett


This building was demolished in 1987 by the owners, the Chow family, who developed the Capital Centre building.

With Grace Chow & Amy Chow (Mother and daughter, owners of the capital centre building)

+ What’s your family’s story in Calgary Chinatown and with this building?
Grace: I immigrated to Calgary from HK in 1968. Before I came here, the building looked like an old two-story wooden house.

Perhaps after a few years, my husband Raymond and I bought the building– it was around 1970, 1971. Before I bought it, it had been vacant for a while. We bought it from the last owners of the block across the street, Linda Mae’s.

My husband was a family physician and practiced on the ground floor. We rented out the upstairs  — I remember the Driving School (Kowloon Driving School). The parking lot was next to it, in between the Canton Block, before the addition was added.

Raymond had wanted to redevelop the building, and I asked the architect to redesign the building. My husband passed away before the work started, and the architect and the lawyer helped me to finish the building. 

In 1990, the building was completed and the tenants moved in.

+ What was Chinatown like at the time?
Amy: It was mostly residential, with a few restaurants, and a convenience store (owned by the Louie family). Father decided to be a Chinatown-based practitioner. 

+ Who are the current tenants within this building?
Amy: I’m a dentist and on the 3rd floor (for 20+ years)
2nd floor — beauty salon (more than 25+ years as a tenant)
Ground floor — Vic’s BBQ restaurant
Basement — Muze Cafe, Peter is the owner. Before the cafe, it was a bakery. 

Grace and Amy Chow in front of the Capital Centre building, 2020.
Amy (foreground) and Grace on the rooftop of the Capital Centre building, 2020.

+ When was this building constructed?
It took about 2-3 years to be developed, and was finished in 1990.

+ Can you tell me a little bit about the history behind its design and construction? What was the decision-making behind the building’s design?
Regarding city planning — the building footprint was as such because of setback requirements. However, the city allowed the building to have overhangs, but was restricted to 3 floors (low-density). Grace wanted the building to look more modern — the old version was too old. 

We also added “Chinese character” accents on the roof tile and eaves.

The architect was Lyle Hallet. He designed the building and also worked in City Hall.

Site plan and typical floor plan, 1985. Courtesy of the Chow family.


Before the Capital Centre was constructed, Dr. Raymond Chow (Grace’s husband and Amy’s father) practiced out of a converted 2-story home. Decades ago, it was common for these wooden bungalows to be repurposed for local businesses. Photographs courtesy of Peter Chan, 1985.


Photographs taken in 2020.