hsin kuang centre toronto

Iconic Chinatown building gets ghastly makeover

Renovations on Chinatown's Hsin Kuang Centre have finally been unveiled after months of construction, and it's safe to say that Toronto has lost another cultural icon.  

The bright yellow facade and traditional green gable roofs of the building at 346 Spadina Ave. (which once housed a series of Chinese restaurants, clothing markets, and, reportedly, a ghost) have officially been replaced by an office building from Metropolitan Commercial.

There's still some scaffolding surrounding the four-storey building, but what's currently visible shows an all-black exterior that looks a lot more sleek (read: boring) than what was there before. 

To be fair, the Hsin Kuang Centre was desperately in need of renovations, though the extent of its transformation hasn't been well-received by many on social media so far. 

Looking at it now, you'd never know that 346 Spadina was once the centre of Toronto's Jewish labour movement as the original Labour Lyceum up until the 70s. 

Or, after that, home to Toronto's largest and most glamorous Chinese restaurant Yen Pin Place, followed by a string of eateries like Paul's Palance Deep Sea Shantung, Hsin Kuang, and eventually the dim sum spot Bright Pearl. 

When it's complete, the office building interior will be made of exposed brick, polished concrete and hardwood floors. It'll also come equipped with an elevator, and red accent lighting at night that illuminates its exterior.

But whoever leases the 28,000-square-foot building from Metropolitan Commercial should note that a number of ghost sightings have been reported on the third-floor women's washroom. 

Maybe that's why building plans have maintained the pair of iconic stone foo dogs which have long guarded the stairway facing Spadina, though that's likely more a nod to Chinatown than for superstition's sake. 

Lead photo by

@heychristofur


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