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The association purchased the building in the 1970s. Previously, it was assumed to have been used as a residential building.

Interview with Thomas Leo & John Kwan (President of the Lung Kong Association)

+ How long have you been in Chinatown? What was Chinatown like then?
I’m from Canton and I’ve been in Calgary since 1952. My father belonged to this association, so I followed him and joined later on. 

+ When was this building constructed?
It was completed in 1986.

+ Who are the current tenants and users of this building?
On the basement Level is a Vietnamese speakeasy that’s coming soon. Our association’s health center used to be there.

On the ground floor is Ho Won Restaurant, which has been here for 20ish years. 

On the second floor is the Lung Kong Association, for the Kwan, Lau, Cheung and Chiu families. 

The inauguration of the building in 1986. Courtesy of the Lung Kong Association.

+ What was on this land before this building was built? How was the land acquired?
It was a one-story bungalow, a little shack. There was no second floor; it was just a basement and undeveloped.

We bought it from a Chinese lady in 1973 for $1650. First, we rented it to Golden Inn’s owners— they leased the house for parking space for the restaurant and the house was used as a leisure space. (The property of Golden Inn now belongs to the Freemasons.) The Golden Inn Business is owned by Mr. Lau, a member of the Lung Kong association. 

We used to meet in the grocery store, which belonged to a member of the association (at 2nd Ave and Centre Street, which is a barber store now), and for functions, we traveled door-to-door with all of our members.

Regarding the new building, originally we wanted to build a shopping centre, but the elderly folks wanted to keep their own individual property. We leased the land for 45 years. In return we wanted the builder to build a 3-story building. Before, it was a private realty company (Paul Kwan Realty) in charge, but then they went bankrupt so the bank took over. The bank is now in charge and we have seven more years of lease.

With the three association buildings on this street, we worked individually, not together. 

Paul Kwan was the original owner of the building, because he got the money from the bank and built the building. He owned the restaurant on the first floor (before it was Ho Won). We have nothing to do with the building. We leased the land — the building has nothing to do with us. In our agreement, we asked for a 3-story building, with the front part of 1500 square feet for the use of our association. What proceeds or profits come out from the building have nothing to do with us (until after the 45 year lease is up). 

+ Who is the architect for this building?
We’re not sure, but think the architect’s name is Wong?? 


Photographs taken in 2020.