Fan Tan Alley, Victoria

Fan Tan Alley, Victoria

Fan Tan Alley is a fascinating and unique attraction located in the Chinatown neighborhood of Victoria. Known for being the narrowest commercial street in North America, this alley is less than 0.9 meters (3.0 feet) wide at its narrowest point. The alley runs south from Fisgard Avenue to Pandora Avenue, between Government Street and Store Street. The alley's name comes from the Chinese gambling game Fan-Tan, which was once played here. During the 1910s, it was well-known for illegal gambling clubs and opium factories. However, police raids and declining visitors led to the closure of the gambling clubs in the 1950s and 60s. The alley fell into disrepair, but it was revitalized in the 1970s and 80s with leadership from David Chuenyan Lai.

Today, Fan Tan Alley is a popular tourist destination that contains a variety of small shops, an art gallery, restaurants, apartments, and offices. It was designated as a heritage property by the local government in 2001. The alley's original gate was salvaged and donated to the Six String Nation project, where it now serves as kerfing on a guitar located there. Interestingly, in the 1990 movie "Bird on a Wire," Mel Gibson rides a motorcycle down the alley.

Visitors to Fan Tan Alley can immerse themselves in its rich history and enjoy its unique atmosphere. The narrow alleyway is a testament to Victoria's multicultural past, and visitors can explore its many shops and businesses.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Victoria. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Fan Tan Alley on Map

Sight Name: Fan Tan Alley
Sight Location: Victoria, Canada (See walking tours in Victoria)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

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