Mah Park Barber Shop

10140 97 Street, Edmonton

Also known through the years as Mah Sue Barber Shop and Chinese United Charter Club

This one-storey wood frame building was the office of Saskatchewan Valley Land Company, a real estate and farmlands agency in 1908. In 1910 it was occupied by an employment agency owned by William Cornelius Woods. In the following year it was the Farmer’s Exchange (1911) and yet another year later the occupant was the Namayo Realty Company (1912). From 1914-1917 Jim M. Chung was the barber of his own barber shop, and in 1922 Mah Park moved his barber shop business from a block away at 10164 97 Street and replaced Jim M. Chung Barber. Mah Park lived within his business, a typical practice of many Chinese business owners and their employees (if they have any) during that time. The living quarters could be at the back of the business, upstairs or in the basement.

The barber shop became Mah Sue Barber in 1950 and Mah Tong Sue in 1952. The Acme & American Cabs was relocated to this building in 1953. Both taxi companies were formerly located at 10164 (American Taxi Company) and 10166 (Acme Taxi/Acme Cab Ltd.) on the west side of 97 Street and 101 Avenue. Mah Sue previously moved out of 10140 97 Street to 10124  97 Street. The taxi business would have left the building by 1965 based on an Edmonton newspaper article published in early 1965.

The Edmonton Journal reported on February 17, 1965 that Edmonton’s first Chinese social club opened up on Tuesday night with fanfare – speeches, games and an 11-course Chinese banquet at a restaurant located next door. The club rented premises on 10140 97 Street, which are managed by Ben Mah. Guests included Hon. Ambrose Holowach, provincial secretary, three city MLAs, the mayor and a police representative. The Club president was Fred Mah Moon. Discussion for such a club had started more than a year ago among the 3,000 Chinese in Edmonton. The club has about 50 members at the time of the inaugural grand opening. It is unknown how long the club rented the premises because by the time the building was demolished in the 1970s it was occupied by a commercial business.

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Era: Urban Growth
Themes: Trade & Industry
Cultural Groups: Chinese
Area: Central

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