The Chinese in Early 20th Century Toronto: 207 Church Street

In 1901, a man named Hong Kee lived in the building at 207 Church Street. The building also housed his business, which was a laundromat. According to the 1913 Fire Insurance Map, it was built out of wood. Hopefully the steam from the laundry did not rot the wood. Though there are no pictures of the building to be found, if it was anything like the back of 203 Church Street in 1914 (see picture), it was possibly somewhat rundown.

At this time, there were two other people living with him (three total), who presumably helped run the laundry. Valued at $1005 dollars and deemed “Anglican” in official Assessment records, the building was not owned by Kee, but was instead owned by Kenneth Allison, who lived elsewhere at 668 Yonge Street.

Allison still owned the building by 1909, at which time Kee was 30 years old. By this time though, there now only lived two people in the building. Kee did not have any children with him. In 1909 the property was valued at $1225, which was a slight improvement from 1901, though it’s uncertain whether this was due to improvement of the building, success of the business, or differences in dollar value. Perhaps all three.


Works Cited

City of Toronto Assessment Roll, Ward 3 Div. 2, Reel 216

City of Toronto Assessment Roll, Ward 3 Div. 2, Reel 147

Toronto Fire Insurance Plan (1913)