Chinatown History : from Kublai Khan to TD Bank via Shanghai Junk

Chinatown History : from Kublai Khan to TD Bank via Shanghai Junk

Who would have thought that and article about Cheech & Chong would lead to research on the history of a Chinatown club?

I first heard about the Shanghai Junk in this Andrew Fleming article for the Vancouver Courier from January 30, 2014:

Chinatown: Topless joint sparked stoner comedy genre

Cheech and Chong launched their act at the Shanghai Junk

Click here for the full Vancouver Courier article

Then, this happened:

I had to find out more.

Back in 2008, Tommy Chong shared his memories of the Vancouver club scene between 1960 and 1970 in this article for Cannabis Culture.

Our first gig when we arrived was at an Italian gangsters club on the southeast corner of Hastings Street and Main Street. Our drummer Sonny got us the gig, and we were roomed in the rat-hole Astoria Hotel across the street. It is much the same seedy flophouse today, right in that very same spot.

The Elegant Parlor’s landlord had sold the building it had been in, so in early 1969 I moved the Parlour to the back of The Shanghai Junk at 205 East Pender Street and Main in Chinatown. The Shanghai Junk, which was run at the time by my brother Stan, was a topless joint and could be a rough place.

(I found the entire article well worth my time.)

So, what’s at 205 East Pender, former location of the Shanghai Junk?

A TD branch. So it is true.

This post on the Past Tense tumblr includes a link to a 1966 Vancouver Sun full-page ad:

Shanghai Junk : Grand Opening

The Shanghai Junk. Formerly the Kublai Khan. 442 Main St.

442 Main Street? But the other article said 205 East Pender Street?

Shanghai Junk : An Opulent Bit of WestThis section mentions the “Main Street” entrance.
That explains is : since it’s at the corner of Main and Pender, there must have been entrances on both streets.

Shanghai Junk : Hawaiian Entertainers

Are “floorshow revue”, imported act” and “entertainers” all euphemisms for topless dancers?